Dream on: Dream Cream Ice Cream grants staffers "dreams"
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 00:09
An ice cream shop in Downtown proves that fairy tales can be a reality. One scoop at a time.
Dream Cream Ice Cream owners Thomas Jamison and Alecia Shipman, both 27 from the Hill District, were given the chance to open their own business, one that keeps on giving.
The idea came about with an ordinary night run for ice cream.
“My girlfriend would ask for ice cream at odd hours of the night,” Jamison said. “After I brought the ice cream from 7/11 to her one night, the idea of opening an ice cream shop came about.”
Before the ice cream shop, they had a different idea.
“We were going to get an ice cream cart to make some extra money to pay off our student loans," Alecia said
"It would be a dream come true if I could just pay off my student loans,’” Jamison said. Hence the name Dream Cream Ice Cream, located at 539 Liberty Ave.
Jamison knew then they had found a name.
“I said ‘There’s the name – Dream Cream Ice Cream – it was an aha moment,” Jamison said.
In the early stages of the idea, it was only a dream. It didn’t seem possible for the duo until later on.
“It wasn’t a reality until last September when we received an e-mail from Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council” Jamison said.
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) was offering an opportunity to get commercial space downtown from six months to a year to make it big, the opportunity entitled Project Pop–Up .
“Over one hundred applied and we got elected in September 2011 for Project Pop-Up along with fourteen others,” Jamison said. The two were selected and given the keys a month later and started construction, according to Jamison.
According to Jamison, construction took four and a half to five months. They opened their doors in May 2012 and are open seven days a week from 11 a.m to 11 p.m.
Dream Cream features a unique staff, called “dreamers.” The “dreamers” that work there are getting the chance to earn their dreams through the shop.
Dreamers raise money for their dreams by working four hour shifts. According to Jamison, the dreamers choose a flavor and receive 25 percent of sales for their flavor.
Former worker and dreamer Natasha Molina, 26 of Pittsburgh, is the education coordinator of the Bridge of Pittsburgh Project she is finally getting her dreams of opening up a crisis center.
“My dream was to raise enough money to open Jeremiah’s Place, Pittsburgh’s first crisis and relief nursery for a family crisis,” Molina said. Jeremiah’s Place is going to be a center open 24/7, 365 days a year for children to come during a family crisis.
“We didn’t know how we were going to be getting the assistance that we needed, so we decided upon dreamers to work here so we didn’t have to hire a large staff,” Jamison said.
With this way of finding a staff, Molina was able to raise more than enough money for her dream.
“We wanted to raise $1,000 and we raised $1,100,” Molina said, who worked only during July.
Jamison emphasized the benefit of being a “dream,” other than raising money.
“Dreamers also get the chance to network and meet new people to help them reach their goa,l” Jamison said.
Lynne Williams, 43, a physician, also worked with Natasha to reach the dream for Jeremiah’s Place. “It helped the community become aware of Jeremiah’s Place,” Williams said.
Dream Cream Ice Cream is a place built on dreams. The ice cream may have calories, but it is guilt-free.
“For me, the very principle this business was built on is helping people,” Jamison said.
Molina has the same rewarding sentiment about Dream Cream Ice Cream and what it has done for her.
“I am going to miss working here, it was a nice break in the routine. It was great to meet new people,” Molina said. “I got the chance to hear other dreams.”
Williams also had an excellent experience working with Dream Cream Ice Cream.
“The great this is that the money we made is half profit and half donation. People support us,” Williams said.
Jamison’s gift to others is what he wants to live by.
“My professional tag is helping people and we plan on being here forever,” Jamison said.