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Whitefish Bay resident takes home grand prize at the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge

Brittany Seemuth, Now Media Group 7:40 a.m. CDT July 25, 2016

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Village of Whitefish Bay -Whitefish Bay resident, Linnea Harrington was the grand-prize winner of the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge in the Early Stage category on Wednesday, July 20 at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Harrington beat 80 other candidates in the competition. The concept of her business is to create handcrafted and spirited frozen treats called Linnea's Pops & Lickers, LLP. The 'pops' are virgin and the 'lickers' contain alcohol. Seasonal flavors include strawberry basil lemonade and jalapeno peach margarita for summer, and spiced cranberry orange for fall.

Harrington launched the business in 2014. Her primary goal for the business is to resolve packaging issues and to take manufacturing to the next level.

Harrington won $2,000 in seed money from Reliable Water Services, tuition for a three-credit course at MATC during the 2016-17 academic year, consultation with FaB Wisconsin's Director of Innovation and a one-year membership in FaB. She also won a booth at the 2017 Midwest Foodservice Expo and a prize package worth $400 from Fein Brothers Restaurant Equipment & Supplies.

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After extensive cancer treatment, Whitefish Bay mom finds new purpose in popsicles

Jeff Rumage, Now Media Group 8:32 a.m. CDT June 21, 2016

After rebounding from chemotherapy treatments, Whitefish Bay resident Linnea Harrington started experimenting with different popsicle flavors. Her business, Linnea's Pops and Lickers, is a finalist in the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge.

Whitefish Bay — Linnea Harrington wasn't supposed to get breast cancer.

She didn't have a family history of breast cancer, and she was only 34 years old. When she found a large lump in her breast and sore lymph node in her armpit, she thought she might be fighting off a cold or a virus. One doctor told her she had dense breasts, but she had a nagging suspicion it was something more.

By the time she talked to a second doctor, the cancer had reached stage four. If she had waited another two months, the doctor said she would have passed the point of recovery. She received three types of chemotherapy in six months, a double mastectomy, 36 rounds of radiation and a full hysterectomy.

'It was an insane 10 months,' the Whitefish Bay mother of two recalls.

A year after her diagnosis, Harrington said she was starting to miss the busy schedule of her old sales job. To fight off her stir-craziness, she and her two daughters – then 4 and 5 - started freezing fruit juices into popsicles. They concocted unique flavor combinations, like strawberry basil lemonade and lemon blueberry.

Pretty soon, her fresh fruit popsicles became a favorite at parties.

It was a 'natural progression' to start adding liquor and bitters to the mix, she said. Her friends and family jokingly referred to her as a mad scientist as she tested how much alcohol she could add without inhibiting the freezing process. She created a full menu of craft cocktail slushies, including Moscow Mule, sangria and jalapeno peach margarita.

A month after coming up with the concept, she decided to test her idea on 'Shark Tank' when the television show came to Milwaukee. She and her husband spent a night outside the Milwaukee Art Museum in July 2014, but because she didn't have any clients at that time, she didn't make it past the show's producers.

Harrington has since given more thought to her business, which she calls 'Linnea's Pops and Lickers.' The fresh fruit popsicles are called pops, and her alcoholic popsicles are called lickers. In the spring and summer, she sells fruitier flavors like pina colada, mango and fruit punch. Some of her fall and winter flavors include pumpkin brulee, chai latte and mulled wine.

Linnea's Pops and Lickers is one of three early-stage businesses competing in the final round of the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge on July 20. The contest aims to find the best new food and beverage business ideas in Wisconsin.

Harrington hopes this contest will help take her popsicles from a hobby to a business. She sells popsicles to friends and to the café at Elite Fitness in Brookfield, but she doesn't have the capacity to fill large orders from her home kitchen. Harrington said she would like to move her operations into a larger kitchen with employees who aren't her daughters. She also has to work out packaging and licensing issues.

As she adjusts to her post-corporate life, Harrington said she has found a new sense of purpose through her pursuit of popsicle perfection.

'I never wanted cancer to define who I am as a person,' she said. 'It was important for me to get back to my old self, and now I feel like my old self again.'

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Pinktober

In the theme of sharing our story while sharing fun, I wanted to write something about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This is my second experience with "Pinktober" and when I say 'what a difference a year makes' I really mean it.  Last year I was still in the middle of my chemo treatment and really wanted nothing to do with it, while this year I'm feeling AMAZING and am embracing it!  

Those of you who know me, know that I was part of the 1 in 8 campaign for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  Through that I got to be a part of some very cool campaign ads and speaking engagements...*cough Got to meet Donald Driver, *cough and he kissed me.  Not only did Linnea's Bosom Buddies have one of the largest teams, we also made the honor roll for our fundraising efforts!  What was even more exciting, Pops & Lickers got to be a part of the celebration too!  We showcased two of our seasonal flavors and proudly supported Linnea's Bosom Buddies.  The race was early on a Sunday morning and our Bailey's & Coffee and Chai Tea Latte Lickers had everyone up and ready for the 5K!  My team captain Veronica and the very best friends and family a girl could ask for all came to support the survivors.  It was truly an inspiring experience.  

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Tess enjoying a Pop!

Tess enjoying a Pop!


While I'm all about making any experience a fun one, I'm very serious about educating women about breast cancer.  So while it's OK to make this scary and serious disease not so scary, please remember that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with this disease.  Breast Cancer does not discriminate as I am living proof of that.  PLEASE get your clinical breast exams ladies.  Know what your normal is so you can become the biggest advocate for YOUR health.  Early detection is your best defense.  

So this Pinktober, I'll be wearing my pink proudly and educating as many women as I can about the risks and symptoms of breast cancer!  

In closing I'd like to post a picture of me and my new boyfriend.  (Sorry Ryan!)  

xoLinnea

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Thank you!

Wow!  What a difference a year makes.  Pops & Lickers has really been a fun labor of love.  I'm so excited to share our new website that really was a group effort.  I never thought I'd ever be in a position that I would be doing something I truly love day in and out.  Before I go any further, I would be remiss if I didn't thank all who made this site and P&Ls possible.  

Lisa, thank you for your beautiful pictures, logo and direction.  You're seriously amazing and so talented.  Nichole, boy did we shop til we dropped for all the props...we're a good team.  Your impeccable taste and styling really showed through.  Paul, thank you for jumping in to style and letting us use your gorgeous house.   To my friends who let me use them, and their kids, as models, Georgette, Danni, Anne, Alexis, Antoine, Paul, Nichole and Amy.  Boy do I have some good looking friends!  Andy, my IT genius making sure I'm all set up and for putting up with all my website creating questions.  You're such a good friend.  To Ryan for always being my biggest cheerleader and always letting me be me.  I'm so lucky to have you.  To my friends who have stood at my dining room table helping me make the first P&Ls or helping me put the annoyingly hard labels on my packaging, Ryan, Kelly, Amy, Missy, Alexis, Kelsey and Nichole. To my parents and brothers who are also my biggest supporters and best taste testers, and my girls who inspired me with the idea in the first place.  I love you all.  When I say this is a group effort, I'm not kidding!  

P&Ls' Blog will be fun, at times random but most of all, what's going on.  I look forward to sharing our story while sharing fun!  

xoLinnea

 

 

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