Pints of Joy, an ice cream shop with an unexpected beginning, had its grand opening at 717 E El Camino Real, #6 in Sunnyvale on Nov. 20.
“Both of us have been long-time residents of Sunnyvale, so when it came to picking our first location to start the business or expand it, we were very keen to be a small business within this community,” said Arshiya Shaikh, who founded Pints of Joy with Ketki Dandekar.
“Starting Pints of Joy was the coming together of our backgrounds, passions, and an unexpected opportunity,” said Shaikh.
For the founders of Pints of Joy, the opportunity arose during COVID-19.
In 2020 alone, 20 million people lost their jobs in the United States because of the pandemic. For many, it was a time for reconsideration – of family, of work, of social and personal values. In the eyes of Pints of Joy’s founders, the job losses they suffered were an opportunity to start something based on what they loved – ice cream.
Their story shows what obstacles can be overcome if someone puts their heart and mind to it.
“We were both working in fintech,” Shaikh said, describing the duo’s pre-COVID work. “[But] deep down, we knew our passion lies in working with people and making people happy.”
An ice cream shop would allow them, in the words of Shaikh, to “work on what we care about, not just for a paycheck.”
“I lost my job in the early COVID days,” Shaikh explained. “I had been working in the same field for seven years. My next career goal was to find something that maximized my strengths – working with people, operationalizing things and leading.”
“COVID-19 had changed everything overnight,” Shaikh went on. “Ketki lost her job from COVID-related layoffs. After a few weeks of shelter-in-place and total isolation, our families started podding together. We had many conversations about ways to turn the challenge of losing a job into an opportunity. We started discussing business ideas.”
“One evening in April 2020, Ketki served us her homemade ice cream after dinner. The families had enjoyed her ice creams before, but this time the ice cream was different – we tasted an opportunity in it,” said Shaikh. “Before we knew it, we were trying to figure out what an ice cream business looked like.”
For the founders of Pints of Joy, the details necessary to start a new business were unfamiliar. But while they lacked the background for consumer business, they had a lot of passion for their ice cream.
“Realizing that neither of us had any background in food or consumer business, we started a journey of learning the nuances by talking to people around us who had traveled the road before,” said Shaikh. “Everything from regulatory requirements and permits, to the process, ingredients, vendors, and labor, was new to us.”
Despite their ignorance in these matters Shaikh and Dandekar persevered.
“We knew a few things: We wanted to make the healthiest ice creams possible (only what we would feed our families), we trusted each other to be able to work together, we had the intention to learn what we didn’t know and the capability to figure out the unknowns,” said Shaikh.
At Pints of Joy, all ice creams are eggless and handmade. The Sunnyvale store also offers non-dairy and vegan flavors.
“Our most popular flavors continue to be Alphonso Mango, Salted Guava, Gulkand Coconut, Meetha Paan, Gulab Jamun and Blueberry Lavender,” said Shaikh. “For the winter and holiday season, we have brought back Maple Pecan and Bourbon Toffee, two customer favorites from last year, and a brand-new flavor, Biscoff Cookie. Pumpkin Spice will stay on the menu until the end of November.”