There is a new all inclusive ice cream shop in Chapel Hill. Vegan Ice Cream Man, founded in 2019, serves plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, cruelty-free and nut-free ice cream.
The founder, Theodore Chatfield, has always had a passion for ice cream. The store officially opened in September.
âIn New York City, an ice cream truck drove through my neighborhood about two to three times a day,â Chatfield said. . “
He started in the frozen dessert business when he was young, working for his grandmother’s crushed ice cart in New York City. At 16, he rents an ice cream truck because he always wanted to sell ice cream.
At 19, Chatfield bought a soft serve ice cream truck and worked in that truck in New York City until he was 32. He then moved his truck to Raleigh, where he operated it for another two years.
Although he had been a vegetarian since the age of 17, he decided to go vegan at the age of 33.
âWhen I became a vegan, it was very difficult for me to sell milk ice cream to people,â Chatfield said. “I no longer believed in the product. I felt like I was selling poison to people.”
After 10 years without ice cream, Chatfield said he dreams of making ice cream without dairy, nuts, soy and gluten. He worked on his recipe for three years, and the rest is history.
Chatfield said he wanted to encourage others to embrace veganism through his ice cream shop.
âI thought if I could make this ice cream that would be my contribution, and I hope people would use it as a transition tool because it’s such a popular dessert,â Chatfield said. “If I can make ice cream that is nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free and also loved by everyone, then maybe I can help some people make the transition to the vegan world.”
Overall, Chatfield and CEO Fatima Wyche said they want the business to bring happiness to people.
âWe really like to spread the love through our product,â Wyche said. “We have a passion for health, we have the passion to love others and the community through our product and we simply love what we do.”
Additionally, Chatfield said he hopes ice cream is something everyone can enjoy because it encompasses all diets.
âI just want the brand to be an inclusive brand, which means it’s for everyone, so that was included in the thoughts when I put together the recipe,â Chatfield said.
Ice cream is made from carefully chosen ingredients that reflect the brand’s mission to nourish the soul.
âIn order to demonstrate love for our body and our life, we have to put love inside, so we also put love in our products,â Wyche said. “One of the things that we look forward to is sourcing local ingredients to support the community and having more partnership opportunities with other local businesses and organizations to share our passion.”
Second-year UNC student Reagan Fleeher is vegan. She said she was delighted to hear about the new store.
âIt’s so exciting when new vegan options and vegan businesses pop up in the area because sometimes it can be difficult to find options,â Fleeher said.
Vegan Ice Cream Man currently has a food truck located at 102 S. Merritt Mill Road. Chatfield said they will soon have an online ordering option to deliver throughout the Triangle.
Wyche said she hopes Vegan Ice Cream Man can help inspire and support the community.
âWe kind of see ourselves as agents of change of love, and we’re just hoping to do it a spoon or a pint at a time,â Wyche said.
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