UMEZ Provides Loan to Harlem Ice Cream Shop

Date:    Friday, September 8, 2017

New York, New York – Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin-Larsen have lived in Harlem for a decade. As a former restaurant manager with prior background in the food service industry, Mr. Larsen realized that Harlem didn’t have an ice cream shop with quality flavors and ingredients. With this in mind, Mr. Larsen and Ms. Bazin-Larsen decided to open an ice cream shop right in their neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. Mr. Larsen looked for funding, but since ice cream is a seasonal treat, it was hard to qualify for a loan from traditional banks.

Through UMEZ’s Business Resource Investment Service Center, Inc. (BRISC), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), small business loans are possible to provide funding to businesses that are beginning their story. Loans range between $50,000 and $250,000 and are aimed at small business formation and existing business expansion to create economic vitality in Upper Manhattan. For 20 years UMEZ small business lending has provided Upper Manhattan businesses with low-risk, accessible financing. These loans may be senior or subordinated financing, depending on the other sources of capital for the project, and are set at an affordable interest rate with flexible terms based on cash flows, job generation, and level of collateral for the project.

Mr. Larsen came to UMEZ to present his business/construction plans for his ice cream shop, Sugar Hill Creamery. With technical assistance from our staff, Mr. Larsen refined his business plan and created a community engagement plan to bring Sugar Hill Creamery closer to the neighborhood. With the diligence of our team and the speed in which Mr. Larsen submitted deliverables, the loan was quickly approved and processed without delay. Mr. Larsen began construction on Sugar Hill Creamery at the end of spring and was able to open by the end of July 2017. Mr. Larsen obtained a $110,000 loan for the construction of Sugar Hill Creamery on 119th Street and Lenox Avenue. The 500 square foot space was redesigned and optimized for adequate space to create decadent desserts and have comfortable seating for customers to enjoy them.

“UMEZ is dedicated to supporting small business in Harlem and was crucial in helping us bring our dream of a family-owned ice cream shop uptown a reality. From the moment we met our advisor, we were informed of the requirements of the loan process and UMEZ supported us from the application through the closing." – Nick Larsen, Sugar Hill Creamery


Since its founding in 1996, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) has been a catalyst in the revitalization of Upper Manhattan. UMEZ’s investments, upwards of $238 million to date, have provided funding to numerous organizations, businesses, and institutions that drive the local economy, create jobs, and add to the vibrancy of New York City. Significantly, these funds have also been leveraged to generate over $1.1 billion in private capital investments into Upper Manhattan. UMEZ is also a leader in reestablishing the area as one of New York’s most dynamic cultural districts.