Indie ice cream maker Little Baby’s Ice Cream is a prime example of a successful Philly startup, and the perfect way to kickoff our new Startup Spotlight series. The Startup Spotlight series profiles successful small businesses to highlight Philly’s thriving startup community.
For founders Martin Brown and Pete Angevine, Little Baby’s began as a hobby making small batches of ice cream to sell after local concerts. With humble basement beginnings, Little Baby’s Ice Cream now includes two shops, four vendor tricycles, and is available in six Whole Foods stores in the region. To get the scoop on Little Baby’s success, we talked with co-owner Martin Brown.
Q: How did you get started?
My partner and I are musicians, and have always been creative people. In 2011, we sought a new creative outlet, and started getting into the artisanal Ice Cream scene. Combined with the takeoff of the food truck business, we had a prime opportunity to grow our hobby into something bigger as popularity for our product grew. This is now our 6th summer selling Ice Cream.
Q: Why did you choose Philly?
A couple of reasons. Philly has a rich history of Ice Cream—we’re really passionate about contributing to the “next wave” of Ice Cream here. We’re also really passionate about weaving our business into the fabric of the city through partnerships with other local makers, organizations, and artists. The community and partnerships that we’ve formed here have been integral to our success.
Q: Can you point to any city services or programs that helped jumpstart your business?
We’ve taken advantage of several free resources available to assist small businesses—Philly has been great to us in this way. Specifically, the Storefront Improvement Program allowed us to update and restore the façade of our shop at 4903 Catharine Street, which we would not have been able to afford without the matching funds. The SIP reimburses owners within certain commercial corridors for making storefront improvements. Our building was in a state of some disrepair and neglect, but the SIP made it possible for us to reveal some of the original woodwork, add a few coats of colorful paint, install signage and some security features, which has most definitely contributed to the growth of our small local business.
Q: Any words of wisdom for new startups?
It’s important to take it one gig at a time while remaining laser-focused on your vision. We researched and learned a lot along the way, but did our best not to lose sight of our goals. If you can stick to your vision and stay confident, you’ll be set.
Q: Plans for the future?
This winter, we want to expand our wholesale initiatives to more grocery stores. We’re also working on our presence in other cities, such as Baltimore and D.C.
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To learn more about Little Baby’s Ice Cream, check out their website http://www.littlebabysicecream.com/