Cocoapreneur PGH Black Business Relief Fund | Grantee Q&A with Happy Day Dessert FactoryLeave a Comment
The mission of Cocoapreneur is to foster an environment of economic prosperity in order to ensure more sustainable neighborhoods for the historically African American communities and neighborhoods around Pittsburgh, PA. Through support to businesses via advertising, marketing and consulting, Cocoapreneur aims to normalize the idea of entrepreneurship and make becoming a business owner a more feasible and attainable goal for African Americans in the greater Pittsburgh area.
In response to COVID-19 and increased discussion around race-based disparities in America, Cocoapreneur PGH created the Cocoapreneur Collaborative as another pathway to fulfilling their mission. Aiming to address more social needs of the Black business community, the fund is meant to provide relief and aid to Black owned businesses and Black initiatives that aren’t able to get funding and support through other means. It was initially created to assist businesses that were vandalized after the George Floyd protests in Pittsburgh in May 2020, but has extended its reach to help others facing challenges because of COVID-19, as well. To date, the fund has provided over $50,000 to businesses in the Pittsburgh area!
As part of Cocoapreneur’s 2020 Healthy Neighborhood Awardee highlight week, we will be spotlighting some of the amazing businesses that received mini grants from Cocoapreneur for everything from new equipment, to salaries, to scholarships for youth programs!
Here’s a Q&A with Galen Moorer Jr., owner of Happy Day Dessert Factory.
Tell us about yourself and about your business, and what inspired you to start it.
“Happy Day Dessert Factory is owned and run by me, Galen Moorer Jr. I first had the idea of opening my own ice cream shop when I was about 17-18 because my father used to own Rita’s Italian Ice on the Northside of Pittsburgh. I enjoyed making Italian ice and custard while I was there, but I knew working for somebody else just was not for me. I have always wanted to own my own business, but I did not know what I wanted to own. So during my years in college, I sat down and asked myself what are some things that I love and can make a living off of? Ice cream and clothing came into my mind because I love to look nice. A good looking outfit goes a long way. I did my research and decided that opening a clothing store is too much of a risk, so I eventually went with ice cream because I love ice cream….and who doesn’t love ice cream? The name “Happy Day” came from my grandmother. She is a wonderful, bright and joyful person. She is always singing “Ohhh Happy Day” by Edwin Hawkins. I also want people to experience the good vibes and premium homemade ice cream and other treats we have to offer, so I named the business Happy Day Dessert Factory. I have been working on Happy Day Dessert Factory for 2 years now and we are finally getting a chance to open. Around January in 2017 the pipes at my father’s Rita’s Italian Ice had busted and flooded the whole store, so I decided that it was the perfect time for me to try and come up with an idea to support my family.”
How did COVID-19 affect your business?
“Our Grand Opening was officially scheduled to be on March 28th, 2020. Our soft opening was to be March 16th, but my dreams were shot down when the president and governor ordered the 2 week quarantine. Due to the unforeseeable events of the coronavirus, we have only been able to provide takeout services as of March 18th, 2020. I had planned to open the store last summer but I faced numerous construction delays. The instant those hurdles were overcome, I opened. It’s not how I wanted to start off but it is what it is and it’s not what it’s not. We had planned to open at the end of the month but I cannot control the world around me. I am just happy to say that we are open. Obviously, with the current social climate we are not experiencing the level of business we had hoped or planned for, but we have still received an extremely positive response! We will continue to remain open as long as we are legally able to and we can get our supplies necessary to make our product. The store will officially be open for DINE-IN services the second restaurants are permitted to seat people again and we will have our Grand Opening.”
What does receiving Cocoapreneur’s mini grant mean to you?
“Receiving the mini grant helped us out a lot, and I am thankful for their help. We used a portion of the mini grant to purchase a new freezer that we use for take home items such as ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream pies, as well as catering. The same freezer also allowed us to expand our menu and winter offerings to include items like funnel cakes and soft pretzels. We used a portion of the mini grant to redesign our website and relaunch it. The final portion of the mini grant was used to launch our gift card program. All of these additions will be critical to our continued success during the winter season.”
You can learn more about Happy Day Dessert Factory at happydaydessertfactory.com or visit them on the Northside at 906A Western Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15233.