A creative-genius burned-out, bored and fed-up with life in corporate America, his close friend, a once-homeless, unemployed pastry chef and artist always instigating to “do their own thing”, and an inspiring idea, discussed, refined, redefined, yet constantly evolving finally have come together. The passing of each of their father’s in a span of just two months in late 2015 presented further inspiration for a journey to create a new company. A company that theirs fathers constantly urged. This is the story and the journey of how Jeff Santangelo, the creative-genius, and Barkley Eberline, the artist & instigator, took their inspirations, their whims and created Love Pop.
“I just need someone to sell my cakes”, the artist Barkley’s continual instigating of Jeff. “I need to exit the corporate world and let my creativity flow”, was Jeff’s constant internal voice finally convincing him to resign the corporate world in mid-2016. With a national park pass, his dog, a spirit of adventure for the great outdoors, along with plenty of time to plan, Jeff set out on the open road to plan his next chapter in life. Finally giving into the instigator in late 2016, and after months of searching the internet, Jeff surprisingly purchased a vintage ice cream truck. Shipped from Tennessee, Jeff had no idea what he just purchased. Barkley was in shock that on a whim Jeff finally bought into their inspiration buying “What”!?!?!
What started out as Jeff’s idea of a cool delivery vehicle for him to travel Denver peddling Barkley’s cakes and dessert, that eventually evolved into what today is Ralphie. A vintage ice cream truck that is the perfect homage to Jeff’s late father, Ralph, that insisted on an ice cream treat every night at the end of dinnertime. Full of rust, an engine that drove nowhere close to the speed limit and a paint job reminiscent of the 70’s, this ice cream truck turned into a complete frame-off restoration. The restoration of Ralphie now presented even more ideas. A delivery vehicle by day, a cool bar by night? Yes, a cool bar serving Love Pop Love Potion juice boxes, among the full service of a complete bar. A vintage vibe with a new look, Ralphie sparked a “let’s add more and do more” flood of ideas.
A trip to Grand Lake in February of 2017 and the possibility of buying a very rare 1969 International Harvester full size step van would add another truck to even more of our inspirational whims. In less than an hour and without even driving it, we excitedly told the seller, “we’ll take it”, not knowing how we would get it home to Denver. So, a caveat, the seller was to navigate Berthoud Pass to get it to us in Denver. He agreed, with delivery scheduled to arrive two days later. However, a winter storm, an out-of-control driver sliding on the ice and four tons of metal collided on Berthoud Pass and halted that idea. The truck was a total loss! But not all was a loss, as the restoration of Ralphie continued and that motor that could barely breathe was scrapped. Replaced with a modern 302 V8, Ralphie now had enough power to tow. A trailer became the next idea and the next evolution of Love Pop with the addition of Dickie. Named after Barkley’s late father, Dickie pays tribute to his father’s love of adventuring through the great outdoors with his backpack and camper trailer in tow. But not just any trailer was to be purchased. Only a vintage, perfectly symmetrical trailer that could be transformed into a unique way to highlight and showcase Barkley’s desserts.
So here we are, Barkley’s desserts, Jeff’s buy-in, and the custom vintage truck and trailer...but wait there’s more! Jeff’s custom-made and farm-table inspired bar and service tables, plenty of vintage décor, handcrafted and uniquely designed aprons for the staff reminiscent of our past true craftsmen that built this country, and finally the idea to create a true “Pop Up” experience, Love Pop came to life. And with it came the name, Love Pop. One element however was still missing. Jeff got back on the internet. Any true, vintage-inspired “Pop Up” transforming an outdoor space into a truly vintage experience needs a rustic flatbed truck. But not any truck, but rather the one that once puttered around the farm and was parked in the barn, yet later retired to duty in the local parade. The one that now has become our Harvie. A 1966 International Harvester dually flatbed that has seen its days on ranches in the West to farmland in the Midwest, is now in Colorado to showcase your event. Harvie, arriving from Indiana in June, is the final character in a cast that is now Love Pop and the culmination of our “Whimspirations”, as we like to call this journey. One-part unfettered whims and many parts unwavering inspirations, our Whimspirations have come to life. So, what’s your Whimpsiration for a gathering, or an event or your “big day”? And how can we bring it to life? We promise, in the end it will be a truly whimspirational journey!