Chicago (WLS) — After one woman turned her sweet hobby into a new business, a Chicago business born out of the pandemic is creating more than just ice cream.
“I actually bought a machine for a fun activity — learning how to make ice cream with my kids — and the ice cream machine was delivered the day before I was fired,” says Ida Nelson.
Nelson is a former administrative assistant in North Lawndale. Now, she’s the owner of Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream and Treats, located in an incubator space in East Garfield Park.
“I want to do my part to create happiness, joy and peace, and then also create resources for our wounded communities,” Nelson said.
Ida’s is one of 4,800 Black-owned businesses in the Chicago area.
She says it’s not just about ice cream, it’s about creating opportunities. She employs 7 people and is adding more to meet the growing demand.
Starting Wednesday, the Museum of Ice Cream off Michigan Avenue will feature two of Ida’s flavors during Black History Month.
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“We think it’s really important to work with local black businesses,” says Kimberly Lawson of the Museum of Ice Cream. “It’s really important that we get people to come and try their incredible ice cream and potentially venture into neighborhoods they don’t know.”
“I tell my kids every day that we make black history by making good decisions. I reflect on what good can be in North Lawndale, and I’m North Lawndale through and through,” Nelson said. “I’m excited that people in my community and in this city will have the opportunity to experience this, but people all over the world — ice cream lovers from all over the world — will have the opportunity to experience this.”
Nelson sells her 50 flavors online, including 12 vegetarian options. While museum-goers can sample it for themselves this month, keep an eye out for Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream and Treats store opening in North Lawndale this summer.
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