Zsa’s Ice Cream
A loan of $10,000 helps pay for adding a freezer unit to our delivery truck, purchasing packaging to make our deliveries more efficient; and hiring a dedicated delivery person.
In 2014, when I wrote this portion of the application for our first loan, I wrote about growing up in a home where both of my parents ran their own businesses. Our first Kiva application was written with a lot of passion for ice cream making. That passion and creativity still exists – even more so. But, it’s also transformed into a determination for developing a business beyond flavor creations.
With the addition of staff members, I began to see Zsa’s as being larger than just me. Zsa’s has a responsibility to provide not just for my partner and I, but to provide for my small staff and their families. Since we were granted our first Kiva loan, I’ve come to realize that my parents wore every hat needed to run a business, not so much because things needed to get done, but because they needed to get done to provide for my siblings and I, and for the employees that my parents had hired. Initially, my determination was driven by perfecting recipes and filling orders. Now, it’s also driven by refining our business strategy and making sure we’re on the right track.
This is a challenging and exciting time for us. We’re planning for greater distribution and retail opportunities.We’re learning how to make the moving parts of a small business work together. I consider myself fortunate that I have the opportunity to develop something that brings customers joy and do it in a way that has the potential to provide for the small team that has been patient, enthusiastic, and supportive with each new turn in the road of Zsa’s.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Zsa’s manufactures “seriously from scratch” ice cream and ice cream sandwiches that are top in taste, texture, quality, and means of delivery. Our offerings are bold in flavor, and are straightforward and substantial. We sell our products at fine grocers throughout the greater Philadelphia area; and, we bring our vintage ice cream trucks to large street festivals and upscale functions, such as weddings. The idea that our product adds enjoyment to an individual’s day, sometimes even unexpectedly, is what keeps us moving forward when things feel overwhelming or seem crazy.
Since 2011, we’ve built Zsa’s slowly yet steadily. In the past 2 years, we’ve hired 3 part-time staff members and fully re-paid a Kiva loan of $5000, which allowed us to update our production facility’s walk-in freezer. This upgrade allowed us to store more inventory, so that we could accept more accounts and sell as many as 800 pieces of product at a single street festival. Our revenues have grown each year since 2013, by 50% on average. Our growth is positive, but one of our biggest challenges is having access to the necessary capital to scale this growth and execute it in an effective way and see projects through to completion.
I am most proud of the fact that learning about both ice cream and running a business has been a bootstrapping effort by me, my partner Parker, and our small staff. I don’t have a culinary background, so all of my recipes have been developed by trial, error, experimentation, and refinement – similar to the way a successful, growing business is run. I’m proud of the fact that our products and offerings excite people — both customers and potential employees.
What is the purpose of this loan?
Our first Kiva loan allowed us to update our walk-in freezer, which provided us enough room to accept more orders from specialty grocers. Now, we’re planning to add a freezer unit to our delivery box truck; package orders into cases; and hire a dedicated delivery driver.
A Kiva loan will allow us to add the freezer unit to our box truck and eliminate the expense of approximately $250/week that we currently spend on the dry ice used to keep our product frozen. $4000 of the loan will be used to add the freezer unit to the truck; $1500 will be used to purchase boxes to pack our orders into cases; $1500 will be used to add our logo to the sides and back of the truck; and $3000 will be set aside as initial payroll for a dedicated delivery driver.
Putting a freezer unit on our delivery truck will decrease our dry ice expenses by $13,000/year. These savings will go back into our business and be put towards additional payroll for a delivery driver as we increase our distribution. Having the funds to package our orders into cases will streamline the ordering process for our grocery accounts; allow us to fit more in our box truck; and eliminate the number of times individual product pieces are handled. Putting our logo on our truck will turn our delivery vehicle into a moving billboard and add a professional quality to our distribution method. By hiring a dedicated delivery person, my business partner and I will be able to spend more time marketing our product; maintaining customer relations; and attending to the larger growth projects that we anticipate for Zsa’s.
Years in operation: More than 5 years