If You Can Eat It, We’re Not Selling It.

TL;DR: We’re selling gift cards and t-shirts while we’re closed for ice cream business. Proceeds will benefit Block Club Chicago.

Well, it’s been a roller coaster ride over here (maybe also with you?). At first when the coronavirus hit Chicago, we put out a special menu suited to the circumstances and tried to keep business going. You were incredibly supportive, and it looked like a viable path forward. But within a week the social distancing recommendation changed to a shelter-in-place order, and our world turned upside down.

Ours is a really small business, to the extent that I personally make almost daily trips to multiple stores to restock ingredients. Every single ice cream cake we sell is decorated by these very hands. My kitchen assistant, without whom everything I do takes twice as long, commutes by public transit. This setup is suddenly impractical, and dangerous.

On top of that, I’m a mom of two young kids who are out of school right now and who are extremely energetic and easily bored (i.e., kids). It’s not a good time for me to stay committed to working outside the home for several hours a day.

And thirdly, my brain feels like it’s not quite big enough to manage re-creating my business model and operations in addition to co-constructing to a brand-new education/nutrition/entertainment/exercise plan for my family, keeping up with current events, and contemplating the vast uncertainty of the future. I’ll own it. I just cannot do a good job of thinking about all these things at the same time.

But I hold out hope that someday the business will run again. I don’t want to guess exactly when, so we’re not taking pre-orders. But ice cream will be made. To prepare ourselves to get back into business when that day comes—and to pay our bills, and possibly even ourselves—we’re selling gift cards. They’re available to purchase in a range of values on our Shopify site right now. We’ve also got some soft but sassy Bartleby’s t-shirts that we’d love to see you in.

While asking you to buy them, I’m aware of the many, many needs our city faces right now and into the future. And so I’ll be donating 15% of the proceeds from these sales to one of the many heroic organizations helping to meet these needs: Block Club Chicago. This nonprofit news site has been a mainstay of my personal understanding of the coronavirus pandemic, and it has committed to providing its nonpartisan, thoroughly sourced pandemic coverage for free to all readers.

Reliable information is one of the most essential necessities in a time like this. Ice cream is also definitely on the list, and while it pains me not to be able to make it for you right now, I look forward to getting back to it soon.