“I think my love for ice cream was really ingrained during my high school years with my first job at Baskin-Robbins,” said Edward Belden, owner of Peddler’s Creamery in Downtown, which is due to open in December.
Belden has seemingly always had a thing for scoops and cones; he still recalls the sheer enjoyment of digging into ice cream at birthdays celebrated as a child. This passion would extend to his first job as a server at Baskin-Robbins.
“I got to taste ice cream all the time and enjoy all the different flavors out there,” Belden said.
But Belden’s passions are also a little more sentimental. In addition to the countless possibilities of flavors, ice cream also intrigued him because, as he put it, “People tended to walk away pretty happy with the final product.” Belden knew then that serving ice cream would be more to him than just a part-time job.
Starting a couple years ago, Belden started to experiment with the ice cream-making process. He took some advice from a friend to jumpstart his own business. He mixed and matched ingredients on a small scale and started to take classes on how to create better flavors. In these classes, he learned how to further advance his creativity and business. And finally, with his newfound inspiration, Belden decided to create a business and put a different spin on making ice cream — literally.
“I’m always interested in finding a new way to do things. I’ve been interested in bicycling for a long time, so I thought hey, why not churn ice cream with a bicycle?” Belden said.
Not too long after, the name was conceived. A play on both “peddling” and “pedaling” ice cream, Peddler’s Creamery, Belden decided, was the perfect name for his shop. And when it comes to Belden’s wares, the ice cream satisfies as well.
Peddler’s ice cream has already made appearances at the monthly Downtown Art Walk, Xlixe Pizzeria in Little Tokyo and, appropriately enough, at CicLAvia, an event that clears the notoriously congested streets of Los Angeles for a day of worry-free biking.
Belden, with the help of friends and employees, has also debuted many flavors, such as kumquat and strawberry basil, on the signature Peddler’s bicycle.
In addition to these flavors, Belden listed off other flavors his shop will offer, including Mexican chocolate, sweet potato pie, gingerbread and vegan salted caramel.
But there is more to the business than the unique ice cream flavors and churning method. As a benefit corporation, Peddler’s Creamery gives 5 percent of its profits to various social and environmental causes. Currently, the business is donating profits and collecting funds that will go toward Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Peddler’s also occupies a prime location in Downtown Los Angeles. Calling a quaint space on Main Street home, Peddler’s is surrounded by other Downtown favorites including Bäco Mercat, Blossom, Big Man Bakes and Pete’s Café & Bar. As soon as the ice cream shop opens, Angelenos can grab a bite at one of these Main Street restaurants and top the meal off with a scoop of Peddler’s ice cream.
Aside from the mass foodie appeal of Main Street, Belden chose to open shop in Downtown for more edifying reasons, as well. Belden explained that when he made the decision to run his own ice cream shop, he had his sights already set on Downtown.
“A lot of folks [in Downtown] are open-minded, and to have a new lifestyle in Los Angeles would allow me to re-establish connections with the city hub,” Belden said.
But the best part of having a store in Downtown? Its close proximity to hungry and adventurous USC students.
“[Peddler’s] is a great excuse to hop on a bike or the metro from a quick escape from school — to enjoy a delicious treat that is made with organic ingredients,” Belden said.
Undoubtedly, every moment of Belden’s 2 1/2 year long journey to make Peddler’s a reality has been worthwhile.
“There’s been a building vibe of creativity in Downtown … with a long tradition of art — a new feeling of new urbanism, a new experience,” Belden said.
And already, Belden is pursuing what many hope to do in the near future — what he loves and does best.
It might be a stretch to say that Belden is the modern-day Willy Wonka for ice cream, constantly coming up with different, creative flavors. But when it comes to his store, he has the heart and the mind for it, churning out one bright idea after another.
Like Peddler’s Creamery on Facebook for more updates on its grand opening.