PETER ANGEVINE, 30, of Kensington, is co-owner, with Martin Brown, 31, of South Philly, and Jeffrey Ziga, 32, of Northern Liberties, of Little Baby's Ice Cream. The company makes its ice cream at a production kitchen/shop in Kensington. Its Earl Grey Sriracha flavor was included in the book, Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States, as best in Pennsylvania. I spoke to Angevine.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for the biz?
A: It really started as a new platform for some musicians to be creative and collaborate with others. Ice cream seemed an exciting and different medium.
Q: And startup money?
A: For the first couple years, it was friends and family. We did it on a shoestring and started our first season, in 2011, in a tricycle cart with $15,000. In 2012, we opened the store and production kitchen [in Kensington] and invested $150,000.
Q: The biz model?
A: We have two retail stores and distribute pints to co-ops and independent specialty food stores like Weavers Way, Di Bruno Bros., Green Aisle Grocery and Metropolitan Bakery. We cater weddings, corporate events and birthday parties. We do street festivals in the summer.
Q: What's so special about your ice cream?
A: It's handmade, small-batch, super-premium, so it's 16 percent butterfat. We get our dairy products from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg. You can't find our flavors anywhere else. Also, 40 percent of our ice cream is nondairy, coconut-based and vegan.
Q: The popular flavors?
A: One is Birch Beer Vanilla Bean, which is like a root beer float. Earl Grey Sriracha has the usual dairy base and we steep Earl Grey tea overnight and then it all goes into the freezer with Sriracha, which is an Asian hot sauce. Speculoos is a Dutch holiday cookie, like a cross between a ginger snap and graham cracker.
Q: Your customers?
A: Some are foodies, others are young families with kids. There's also folks obsessed with finding new experiences and ice-cream fanatics, young and old.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge growing the biz?
A: Ice cream in Philadelphia is a very seasonal industry but we are a year-round business. It's tricky to keep going year-round and keep people working.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: We did a little over $500,000 in revenue in 2013. As for employees, including myself and my two partners, we have six employees year-round. At the high point of summer last year, we had about 26 people working.
Q: Where do you see the biz headed next?
A: We opened a store in Cedar Park in April 2013 and would like to open two more. We're growing our catering [biz] and expanding distribution of pints outside the city this summer.