Tiny ice creamery seeks kick-start

2013-04-01T00:00:00Z 2013-04-01T11:32:26Z Tiny ice creamery seeks kick-startHenry Barajas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The owners of Isabella's Ice Cream are nearly halfway to their goal of raising $15,000 through Kickstarter to move to a warehouse, increase productivity and work toward franchising their Tucson business.

Dominic Johnson, 37, and Kristel Johnson, 35, launched the Kickstarter project on March 12. As of Friday, they had raised $7,270, with 15 days left to crowd-fund the money.

The project's Web page features a video they created in one weekend with the help of Dominic's childhood friend, John Jackson.

The video features Kristel making the ice cream by hand, Dominic driving in their 1920s custom Ford that's now a solar-powered ice cream truck, comments from customers at various local events, and Hotel Congress and Maynards Market employees saying why they serve the product.

The Johnsons make their product at Mercado San Agustin's shared commercial kitchen.

If they reach their funding goal, they will move to one of Tom Kusian's warehouses near the former 17th Street Farmers Market.

"It's just hard to be efficient. We have the opportunity to go to Whole Foods, and a year ago to AJ's, because they want to carry us," but Isabella's doesn't have the capacity yet, Dominic Johnson said.

There have been 138 successfully funded projects on Kickstarter from Tucson, said Kickstarter representative Justin Kazmark.

"A total of $1.6 million has been pledged to all of these projects," he said.

Some notable local success stories include Amber Rix, who raised more than $153,328 from 2,364 people worldwide to fund her Precision Dice project.

As of Friday, there were 18 local projects that were trying to meet their goals, with more added daily.

Dominic Johnson has already paid an architect to design the expanded warehouse and said supporters will give him money should the Kickstarter campaign fall short.

His day job is sales at an synthetic turf developer called A-Turf Inc.

But he hopes to become a full-time ice cream man.

What's Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that allows anyone with Internet access the ability to financially support projects from budding young artists, inventors and entrepreneurs.

To learn more about the Isabella's project, see tinyurl.com/bvcu8sf

Contact the Star's Henry Barajas at hbarajas@azstarnet.com or 573-4142.

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