Leo’s Gourmet Frozen Treats on North Dixie Highway in Oakland Park is putting a new twist on the idea of an ice cream stand with its alcohol and CBD infused ice cream flavors. Andre Lima and his wife Claudia opened their store front at 4750 North Dixie Highway at the end of 2018.
Leo's Gourmet: Starting a New Business
Lima wanted to get involved in some sort of business for a while. After talking with a friend who was already involved in the ice cream making business, he decided to partner up with them and together they opened their own shop. “I was looking to invest in a business. A friend of mine has a passion for ice cream and he suggested we do a business together. We learned with this business. We wanted to know more. The more we learned, the more we got addicted”, he said.
All Sort of Flavors
They first started producing an all vegan line of ice cream flavors made with all natural ingredients. They eventually moved into producing dairy based ice cream flavors and then moved to infusing them with alcohol and eventually CBD.
He said the response from people has been overwhelming: “They love it because it is natural. It doesn’t have any funny stuff in it. My stuff comes in the real form”.
In addition to their store front, the Limas made their own ice cream cart and truck they bring to events across South Florida.
According to Lima, one of the biggest learning curves for operating a mobile ice cream business is keeping the product frozen. “I have my truck equipped with a generator and freezers in there. We lost loads of ice cream when we started because we didn’t know what we were doing”.
A New Obstacle: COVID-19
The business was thriving when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and he said he and his wife had to pivot quickly. “What we’re doing a lot now is drive by events like birthdays and parties and stuff. We have a yellow cart that we made ourselves and it looks like people are really enjoying it”.
Lima wouldn’t necessarily call the business a success yet. “Well, I wish we could say that. This pandemic took a very serious bite from us. We almost closed our doors. If it wasn’t for the good negotiations with the owner of the building, we would have shut our doors”.“We basically had to start from scratch. We had to stop for twelve weeks or so”.
Lima shared that he is aware his business isn’t in this alone and he’s hopeful about coming out on top post COVID-19. “We would be in a way better position if it wasn’t for the pandemic. I’m not alone in that. It really helped put things in perspective”, he said. “We’re renting up fast. Pretty soon I’ll be hiring staff again. I’m doing fifteen, sixteen hours a week, seven days a week”.
In fact, he has already been contacted about bringing his cart to an event later this month at City Hall in Oakland Park honoring the City’s employees. “We’re going to be there with our cart and flavors”.
*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.
About the Author
Katina Caraganis is a Massachusetts native and has called South Florida home since 2015. She graduated college with a degree in communication studies and has received numerous writing awards during her tenure in journalism. When she’s not working for an online pet supply retailer, she spends her time training for a half-marathon in March and studying to become a certified nutrition coach.
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