Jason Davis is the consummate entrepreneur. He works as a real estate investor and physical therapist, and with help from Invest Atlanta, he’s now pursuing a new business venture in ice cream.
“I always knew I wanted to open an ice cream shop,” says Jason. “There’s just something about ice cream that makes you feel good.”
Since last July, Jason has been diligently working towards that goal. And, just in time for the Atlanta summer heat, he’ll be opening the doors to Aiskrimu Ice Cream Bar in the commercial district of historic Cascade Heights.
Aiskrimu, which is pronounced 'īs krēm 'ü, means “ice cream” in Swahili. The boutique shop will include vegan and other healthier soft serve ice cream options featuring traditional and seasonal flavors, specialty items – like ginger beer floats and caramelized plantain sundaes – along with black waffle cones, ice cream sandwiches and even Pup Cups.
Despite several new restaurants and food establishments, Cascade Heights is considered a food desert, and Aiskrimu will serve as the only ice cream shop in the surrounding community. “I want Aiskrimu to be a place where people come together,” says Jason. “Where everyone knows each other and become regulars.”
Invest Atlanta has been key to helping Jason get his business off the ground. As a recipient of the Atlanta Commercial Property Improvement Grant, Jason received $38,000 to help build out the space and bring it up to code.
“As a Black small business owner, this support goes a long way,” says Jason, who points to a McKinsey & Company study on the high rate of small business failure, especially among Black owners. According to the report, 8 in 10 Black business owners fail within the first 18 months, primarily due to lack of access to capital. “Invest Atlanta has taken a huge financial burden off my shoulders,” continues Jason. “This grant made it easier to open my business. It’s a big deal.”
Jason says that as soon as the storefront sign was installed, locals began voicing their excitement. Many have even come to him seeking business advice. “It’s a beautiful thing connecting with others who are trying to open a business of their own,” says Jason. “It requires a lot of sweat equity to make it happen, but it’s fulfilling. It’s cool to share my experience with them.”
As for his favorite ice cream flavor, Jason says he’s boring. “I love vanilla. It makes me pretty happy.” He will no doubt be making a lot of customers happy when Aiskrimu opens its doors.
The Atlanta Commercial Property Improvement Grant is part of the Atlanta Open for Business program made possible through a $20 million donation from Wells Fargo in partnership with the United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta.