It’s kind of hard to imagine James Karagiannis, aka The Ice Cream Dude, selling his wares from anything but his custom fridge bikes. When I last ran into James, he shared some exciting news with me. He told me that he is considering a permanent space at the Broadway Market in order to supplement sales when the bikes are not on the road. To me that sounded like a good idea, especially when I learned that his side gig during the off-season is delivering pizza (not on bike).
In recent months I’ve heard more and more people talking about The Broadway Market, and not just because the Easter holiday was upon us. Take, for example, Niagara Popcorn – another start-up business that secured a stable home at the market (see story). With each budding entrepreneur who finds the inexpensive lease opportunity a viable solution, we see a seed planted that can spin off in a number of different ways. One may eventually find a commercial space in a popular shopping district. Another might end up supplying product to local (or even national) retailers.
As for James, his head is spinning with the possibilities. He envisions running his carts during the warm months, while experimenting with markets year round. “I eventually want to start making my own ice cream,” he told me. “I want the space at the Broadway Market to be a sweet shop, selling ice cream, milkshakes, cones and candy. It’s a small space, but it will afford me the opportunity to learn how to operate a store. I also like the idea of the West Side Bazaar.” James and I also discussed the upcoming market opportunity at the Horsefeathers building on Connecticut Street.
There was a time when James saw that his most appealing option was to leave Buffalo in the wintertime and try his cart business in other cities. Actually, he did try it and he found that people he met were not as receptive to a grassroots enterprise as they were in Buffalo. I am fascinated with his latest approach in growing his business in Buffalo and feel that he is moving in the right direction. Low cost, low overhead, fellow entrepreneurs, concentrated consumers… sounds like those are all of the right ingredients when looking to test out best practice for his ever-evolving business.