Astrid and Omar Thorpe, the owners of an ice cream shop in Brooklyn, have been holding on for this moment. New York City has been flung open.
The Thorpes, husband-and-wife owners of an ice cream shop in Brooklyn, were lucky enough to survive the uncertainty of the past 18 months. In some areas of Brooklyn, as many as 25 percent of businesses have closed permanently, according to Randy Peers, who works for the borough’s chamber of commerce.
For storefronts like Crème and Cocoa Creamery, the Thorpes’ shop, this is the summer of make or break.
The Thorpes exhausted much of their savings to stay open. Health emergencies — her brain aneurysm, his detached retina — sent them spinning. Parenting Josiah, 19; Ajani, 13; and Amara, 4, amplified the stress.
Finally, this spring, things began to look up. Restaurants asked to sell Crème and Cocoa’s products. Companies called about catering ice cream socials. VH1, on a recommendation from the digital publication Black-Owned Brooklyn, gave a small-business grant to the Thorpes.
This has all helped the Thorpes stay afloat while they churn out new flavors, like berry sangria sorbet and strawberry guava cocktail, bolster their social media game and research expansion possibilities. They are currently building a floating deck on a patch of dirt in the back for outdoor seating.
“Ice cream comes with an ambience; families want to come out and sit,” Mr. Thorpe said.