Pink Freesia Creamery of Pasco County
After spending time with her grandchild making homemade ice cream, Kenia Tolentino had an idea that would not only bring happiness to her grandson but also to the communities around her.
“The reason why I chose this business is because one day my grandson came to visit, and he wanted to go get some ice cream and it took us about 20 minutes to go and get some ice cream,” she said. “So, the next time he came, he wanted ice cream again and I said, ‘you know what, let’s make some ice cream’.”
From then on, Tolentino noticed that her homemade ice cream was becoming a fan favorite with her family and local community. Tolentino decided it was time to start her own ice cream truck business, now named Pink Freesia Creamery. The only issue was that this was her first time starting a business in a new state where she was unfamiliar with the local business practices.
Tolentino knew she needed guidance, so she reached out to the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida where she was introduced to business consultant, Christine Jaros for startup assistance.
“She was there with me from the beginning all the way until we opened,” Tolentino said. “The reason I contacted her was because I knew nothing about Florida. I knew nothing about the permits and the liability, and the things that I needed to get started. This is my first business that I own and so she guided me in the steps of building a business plan. From there we went to financing and she even introduced me to the online training where we did the profit and loss.”
Tolentino also added that Jaros was there to guide her every step of the way, whether it was for marketing strategies, social media, or even helping her connect with partners such as Spectrum Reach for advertising purposes.
Since working with the Florida SBDC at USF, Tolentino states that she has started to see revenue and she’s already thinking ahead for what the future may hold. “We are currently reaching our goal and our revenue is already increasing and at this time we are looking for a new person to hire because we have a lot of booked events and weddings. I need that extra help,” she said. In addition, she was a recipient of Spectrum Reach’s Pay It Forward program. She was awarded free advertising dollars through the program.
The Pink Freesia Creamery owner also expresses how seeing her idea come into fruition with the help of the Florida SBDC at USF is what she considers success at the moment. “My biggest success so far is starting the business,” she said. “That itself was an idea that popped into my head and then it just went from there and from opening the doors on grand opening day, it was just an amazing experience.”
Moving forward, Tolentino plans on reaching back out to the Florida SBDC at USF for financial guidance and business certification assistance.
Based on her positive experience, the business owner shares a piece of advice with fellow entrepreneurs, saying, “I would definitely recommend Florida SBDC at USF to any small business owners to reach out for any little ideas that they have in their head, even if they launched their business and they need assistance with anything.”
Tolentino also wanted to take a moment to personally thank her community and all the people that were closely involved in helping her start her ice cream business. “I want to thank the SBDC at USF, Christine Jaros for just being a great mentor, [and] Colleen Flood who has helped me with advertising my business. The community in Tampa, the community in Land O’ Lakes, in Pasco County, Hillsborough; you guys been great,” she said.