A 37-year-old ice cream business is in a sticky situation.
Grand Ole Creamery, a pillar in the local ice cream scene since 1984, has been struggling through the pandemic. Now, it is asking for help.
General manager Chase Huffman has launched an online fundraiser, with the goal of $150,000, to make up for the three Twin Cities shops' steep drop in sales due to shutdowns and dining limitations aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
"Sadly, we have lost more than 75% of our annual sales from COVID-19 mandated shutdowns and restrictions. After being denied multiple times for city and state COVID crisis aid, we are now humbly reaching out for help from our community and loyal customers," Huffman wrote. He added that the business has taken out hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to get through this year.
More than $7,000 has been contributed since the GoFundMe launched Thursday. The funds raised will go toward keeping "our doors open, lights on, and chefs making delicious ice cream," Huffman wrote. Any amount raised over the goal will be put toward meals for front-line workers and shelters, Huffman added.
Another way to support them: ordering takeout.
The Minneapolis location (4737 Cedar Av. S.) is closed for the season, but St. Paul (750 Grand Av., icecreamstpaulmn.com) and an outlet at Potluck Food Hall (1595 W. Hwy. 36, Roseville, icecreampizzaroseville.com) both offer curbside pickup and delivery.
Grand Ole Creamery isn't the only local food operation to turn to its fans and community for support. Many food businesses have started online fundraisers to make up for pandemic-related sales dips, to give back to communities in need, to launch a new project or to recover from damage after civil unrest following the police killing of George Floyd.
Some examples: A riot recovery fund created by the owners of Du Nord Craft Spirits to support minority-owned businesses affected by the riots has so far raised almost $800,000, and has already distributed half a million dollars in grants to businesses in need.
A collective of queer and multiracial service-industry workers called the F12 People's Kitchen has been raising money to prepare and distribute meals for unhoused people in Minneapolis.
Another fundraiser is supporting the struggling Mojo Coffee Gallery in northeast Minneapolis while it closes for the winter.
And the folks behind El Norte Kitchen, a Southwestern-style pop-up, is aiming to purchase a food truck with the proceeds from its GoFundMe.
Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853