OCOEE Jessica Pollack, owner of Sweet Jessie’s Homemade Ice Cream, just wants to make people smile.
“Ice cream puts smiles on people’s faces — that’s just what it does — and that’s why I’m in this business,” she said. “If it didn’t do that, I probably wouldn’t be doing this.”
It was only fitting that the grand opening of Sweet Jessie’s fell on Valentine’s Day — the sweetest day of the year. Balloon artists and face painters catered to the young guests while everyone socialized and enjoyed their first taste of the shop’s homemade ice cream.
“We have 200-plus recipes, and we change up the different flavors biweekly, so every couple of weeks, we’ll have different flavors come out,” Pollack said. “We can have special requests and make whatever (customers) request, so it’s really flexible.”
Pollack, who grew up in Maryland and moved to Ocoee two-and-one-half years ago, originally started working in the ice cream business when she was 9 years old, when an ice cream shop opened across from her house.
“Every day I would be out there after my sports and get my ice cream, and I became really good friends with the owners,” she said. “I would help them out whenever, and I’ve done this for 20-something years now. I love it, I absolutely love it.”
When she and her family made the move to Florida, Pollack saw a need for homemade ice cream, so she decided to open her shop. She and her husband, Doug, looked for the perfect location for months before they finally found it on North Clarke Road, next to Publix.
At any one time, Sweet Jessie’s will serve between 30 and 40 different flavors of ice cream, with unique flavors such as Blueberry Pancake, Zombie — a mix of chocolate, peanut butter and cookies — and Cookie Monster. The shop also offers specialty milkshakes, banana splits and New Orleans-style shaved ice.
Although the shop only recently opened, Pollack said the community response has been overwhelming. Sometimes people have just come by while she was working to get the shop up and running and reached out with words of encouragement.
“The family and friend support that we have is crazy how they have come and supported me,” she said. “But the community has been amazing. We have been on the Ocoee and Winter Garden Rants, Raves and Reviews Facebook pages, and people have been supportive and excited about this, so it makes me so anxious, happy and excited to get this thing rolling.”
“Ice cream puts smiles on people’s faces — that’s just what it does — and that’s why I’m in this business. If it didn’t do that, I probably wouldn’t be doing this.” — Jessica Pollack, owner of Sweet Jessie’s
The passion for outreach in the community is reciprocated. Although she loves the ice cream business and making people happy, she is also excited about the prospect of giving back to the community.
“I feel like I have such a great opportunity to do that in a small community here in Ocoee,” she said. “Once I get up and opened and get stuff down, I’m (looking forward to) being able to reach out and support other local businesses or the schools and Little Leagues and whatever we can.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]