Updated: Aug 31, 2022
What do you get when two culinary and hospitality experts fall in love, take their skills global, have an entrepreneurial spirit and land in one of the most supportive small business communities? Churned Ice Cream! Churned Ice Cream is a 100% hand crafted, and small batch ice cream business based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Continue reading to learn more about the creative founders behind the brand, Alyssa and Ray, the love that goes into making the product, who The Diva is and where you can find them.
Meet the Founders Alyssa and Ray
Picture this, you’re packing up your suitcase in your hometown of Minnesota to study abroad. You’re ready for adventure and some time at university along the coast of Australia. You get there, meet and fall in love with a chef working farther up the coast. The rest is history for these two adventurous spirits, Alyssa and Ray. After several years, Ray moved to Minnesota to be with Alyssa, and they quickly knew corporate life wasn’t the right fit for them. They packed up their things, sold their house and took their skills on the road to work globally…..with The Diva.
Meet The Diva
The Diva is a shiny red Volkswagen VW van that you can spot a mile away. It is a fundamental part of Alyssa and Ray’s journey together and now the brand. The Diva went from Minnesota to California. California to a cargo ship. A cargo ship to England. England to Europe, where Alyssa and Ray spent a couple years traveling and working. When a job opportunity presented itself in Tanzania, they parked the van in England, and set off on their next set of adventures.
Global Hospitality and Culinary Experience
Alyssa and Ray started working in various countries helping build world class hospitality experiences and culinary menus for resorts. They had to adapt quickly, learn new management methods, gain respect of people and learn their cultures. They trained staff on not only tactical job duties, but also helped teach them to showcase their culture to first time foreign visitors. They humbled themselves, learned a lot and after working in several countries thought they had experienced almost everything there was to be experienced in the hospitality field.
Getting to Tampa Bay
After returning to The United States, Alyssa and Ray were looking for the right place to call home. They hopped in The Diva and drove across the US. At every stop they wondered if this was the place to set some roots. Once they hit the Clearwater area and stumbled upon the market on Corey Ave., they knew they found the right home base for them. The lively market, supportive small business ecosystem and lively entrepreneurial spirit made it a no brainer. The great weather didn’t hurt either.
Churned Ice Cream Was Born
They always had an ice cream business idea in the back of their heads, but weren't sure how it would shape up. Ray started experimenting with flavors, ingredients and methods to craft the perfect product. They knew they could start selling it at local markets like Corey Ave. and using The Diva to transport everything. They listened to their customers and offered products that would work based on demand and Florida seasonality. The first product that took off was a vanilla custard popsicle dipped in chocolate that people could walk around with. They also saw how dog friendly St. Pete's area is and began offering puppy ice cream. Since then it’s been a constant evolution of adapting, changing and testing ideas to see what works best; something they are both very familiar with after traveling! Churned Ice Cream has seen an incredible amount of growth in a short amount of time. They have expanded into several local retailers and have received a lot of local press recognition.
The business is still solely managed by Alyssa and Ray. Day to day they develop the flavors, shop for ingredients, create the product, label, package, deliver and market the products. This is on top of coordinating the markets, managing orders and the day to day administration of the business. Even though they have stressful days as business owners, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Seeing the joy on people’s faces after eating their ice cream, building relationships with their customers and fellow local small business owners is what keeps them going.
What’s Next For Churned Ice Cream
Currently Alyssa and Ray lease a shared kitchen space to produce their small batch flavors and would love to expand into their own commercial kitchen as they grow. A commercial kitchen would help them produce more products for retail orders and create efficient processes within their operations. They also envision building a dream team of staff centered around a culture of customer service incorporating their hospitality background.
Where To Find Them
Stop by the Corey Ave. Sunday Market to meet the dynamic duo slinging ice cream scoops, selling pints and having fun with all their customers and fellow small business owners. Keep your eyes out for The Diva!
Follow them on Instagram @churned_icecream to stay up to date with all their news!
Purchase pints at local retailers:
To hear more juicy details straight from Alyssa and Ray, like why they only scoop vs. selling ice cream in cones, tune into their episode on my podcast St. Pete Soul.