Suzanne Batlle never thought she would own a successful ice cream shop, much less two of them. Her children were the ones who convinced her to make ice cream a career, and after going to college for ice cream making, Batlle opened Azucar Ice Cream Company’s first location in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood in 2011.
After posting its best year yet in 2019 and opening a new location in Dallas, Tex., Azucar Ice Cream Company was poised to grow again in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic brought the economy to a standstill. Suddenly, simple pleasures like ice cream were not a priority. Batlle wondered whether her enterprise could survive an extended downturn.
Batlle was losing money daily and shoring up the company’s finances from her own pocket. While the business never closed, Batlle needed immediate help to keep her employees. After getting a PPP loan from CRF, Azucar Ice Cream Company kept its 12 employees on payroll and began re-working its business model to include deliveries, starting with a donation to Miami hospitals and fire stations.
Batlle’s anxiety faded as customers began to return and the company began to re-establish some of its revenue through deliveries. Now Azucar Ice Cream Company can continue celebrating Cuban culture and serving delicious, traditional ice cream to the families of Little Havana.