Opening an Ice Cream Shop in Six Easy Steps

An ice cream shop is an excellent business for locations that get a lot of sun. An ice cream shop is like a desert oasis in the middle of summer, and a welcome treat even during mild climes. The snack is a popular favorite beloved by almost everyone. If you want to make this treat your business, you need to follow a few steps to get off the ground.

Business Plan

It is recommended that you start with the Small Business Administration’s website. There, you will find information on what your business plan needs. Make sure that you take into account market research, staffing, equipment and predict how much revenue your business will be taking in. You should also discuss how you plan to market your business.


The costs depend on how you rent your space. If you purchase your own land and build from scratch, it will be much more expensive than just taking over the lease. You also have to factor in daily costs, like gelato cups and spoons, which will be disposable and require constant replenishment.


Ice cream shop supplies are a lot different than what you need to serve ice cream at home. You will need a freezer unit to hold the ice cream, or a machine if you decide to do frozen yogurt. You will also need tables, chairs, napkins and a host of other materials. Any business also needs a credit card machine, storage racks, a hand wash sink (for sanitary reasons) and other odds and ends.

Licenses and Permits

Check with your local health department to see what, if any, certification you will need to start your business. Most likely, you will need to submit to repeated reviews from the health department. You can also check with the offices of your state’s government online, searching for a “how to start a business” link.


Examine your business plan closely to identify who your ideal customers will be, and how you plan to bring these people into your store. Will you upsell them with take-home treats, or rely solely on your ability to serve customers? Every model will be different, bringing a different revenue stream with each plan.


Your state’s chamber of commerce is a good place to go for advice on choosing a location. You can see what others in your field have done before you, or you might be able to talk with a licensed real estate agent. You should also consider how large you want your location to be, and how your customers will use it. If you plan to have customers eat ice cream at your location, for instance, you will need to utilize your space effectively and plan a layout customers will feel comfortable with.

Once you’ve settled on a location, you need to hire good staff and line up a quality supplier. Stay persistent and work hard on your goals.