By Dylan Deprey
The Green family turned their love for frozen treats into a successful rolled ice cream business. Their north side Silver Mill Shopping Center location was pumping out rolled confectionary magic for those looking to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Between a rotating food menu and their creative culinary creations, Paparazzi Ice Cream was ready to show the rest of Milwaukee what it had to offer.
When a food court spot opened in Wisconsin’s largest mall in late 2019, as a black owned family business, it was hard to pass up.
Paparazzi Ice Cream had the red carpet laid out for them going into the holiday season. Between Black Friday and holiday shopping, the new year was looking bright for both locations.
Unfortunately, like the rest of the world, COVID-19 put a screeching halt to any and all plans.
Clarissa and Romaro Green had to think about their three children, their health, the business and their customers.
“My husband and I physically had to sit down and talk about it,” said Clarissa Green. “What it came down to was that the coronavirus was a case of life or livelihood. We either get out here and risk are lives servicing our customers, or we sit back and see how things are going and jeopardize our livelihood.”
While the Southridge Mall location was immediately shutdown after Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order, they were wary about doing online and curbside at the north side location.
“Not only do we care about our lives and our children, but us staying open draws more customers. More people coming in contact with us, wouldn’t stop the spread. So, it was just a matter of just seeing where this thing goes. We definitely prayed and it also gave us the time to mentally gather our thoughts,” she said.
Between building three separate curriculums for the children’s schooling, to strategizing business and marketing plans, quarantine kept the Green’s busy. It also gave the family some intimate time with each other while they stayed home.
As Southridge Mall re-opened on May 23, 2020, Paparazzi Ice Cream was ready for business. Sneeze guards hung between customers and the counter, the hand sanitizer was on deck, the toppings stayed covered and the counters were blinding white.
“They allowed us to open, but we’re still being careful,” said Romaro Green, wearing a black and grey facemask and clear gloves. “We’re hoping everything is going to get better, but in the meantime, we’re just taking all precautions. Not just for us, but for the public as well.”
While their business and family’s safety have been their main concerns, they haven’t forgotten about other small businesses trying to stay afloat during this anxious and uncertain time.
“Knowing the struggles of self-employment, where you have to make your personal sacrifices, on the financial end, the timing, the kids—some might not be able to withstand,” Clarissa Green said.
Paparazzi Ice Cream’s north side location will be hosting a two-day re-opening to help out 12 local business owners on Monday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 2.
Along with spindled sweets, people can safely visit local vendors during four sets of pop-up shops next door, at the Paparzzi Party and Event Center. The event is free for the community and vendors. There will be two vendor sessions each day: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“There are some that are not as fortunate to have a team, or multiple locations and multiple streams of revenue outside of the business. Anything we could do, we wanted to help others out,” she said.
The Green’s offered some advice for local, small businesses in similar situations.
“Entrepreneurs need to stay faithful, in whatever they believe in. Have faith in their dreams and goals and for this not to deter them from following their dreams because there is still success after this,” she said.
‘’Pray. Listen to the law and abide by the rules. Stay optimistic and continue to be mindful and careful,” said Romaro Green.
For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/paparazzirolledcecreamshop/