Katie and Christa in the garden mugging for the camera.

Katie and Christa in the garden mugging for the camera.

For us, this year began with a groan. Buckle up, this is a long read. Last January we suffered a catastrophic loss. Our freezer went down while we were out of town and we lost everything. It was really bad. Then two things happened and together they put us on a trajectory for success.

The first thing that happened is that our team took action. We lost everything on a Monday and by that Friday they had done enough to make every scheduled delivery that week. They are total rockstars.

The second thing was you. We worked with Kiva, and with your help found the funds needed to get back to business as usual. Not only did you help fund the loan, you did it in record time. We felt the love from our community and we can't thank you enough.

From that experience we became a better business. We built systems and protocols to make sure a freezer failure would never happen again.  2018 was definitely a year of lessons. And one of the most important was 'hire good people.' This year we added several amazing women to our team and we continue to grow.

Last year we started our ice cream garden on Penn Ave. and this year it really took off. With the help of our awesome farmer in residence, we grew 100% of our own mint for our ice cream plus huckleberries, strawberries, blueberries and so many flowers! To make the garden more efficient, we added drip irrigation fed from our water cooled ice cream maker. It was a game changer. 

The back half of our ice cream garden, mint beds in the center flanked by huckleberry bushes.

The back half of our ice cream garden, mint beds in the center flanked by huckleberry bushes.

This year also marked a milestone anniversary for us. We turned 5 and celebrated with you and our pals at Roundabout Brewery who also hit the 5 year mark! Shortly after our birthday, we closed on our production facility - making us property owners in Wilkinsburg and stabilizing our business by creating a permanent home. It took 9 months to finalize it, but we couldn't be happier. 

From this place of stability we were able to grow. We've added more than 15 new locations throughout Western Pennsylvania from Perryopolis to Herman. Most recently we've added our first out of state store in Wheeling, West Virginia. 

This year saw so many changes, many of which were in the works for a very long time...like our refreshed logo and our delivery truck, Boxanne! We are dedicated to ensuring our supply chain maintains the quality of our product from our kitchen to your hands. So we deliver to each and every location ourselves. It took a long time to find exactly what we needed. Next year we'll get her a cute outfit but in the meantime you can follow her hijinks on instagram @boxannepgh. 

Boxanne in the wild.

Boxanne in the wild.

We experienced both highs and lows but we wouldn't be here without you. After all is said and done the most important things Leona's did this year are:

  • Brownie Sundae on Chocolate Chunk 

  • Sweet Potato & Marshmallows on Brown Sugar Shortbread 

  • Birthday Cake on Chocolate Chunk

  • Caramel Corn & Peanuts

  • Garden Strawberry on Shortbread

  • Black Sesame on Tahini Chocolate Chunk

From our family to yours, we wish you a delicious 2019!
Photos by Matt Dayak and Kim Fox