For this week’s Makers We Love, we a feature a brand that everyone in Pittsburgh is crazy for. We’ve had customers walk miles to purchase their products, and sometimes they even come in to purchase more than once a day! Can you guess what product we are describing before reading? Here’s a hint: You have to eat it quickly or it will melt.
Tell us about yourself and your brand:
We are Katie Heldstab and Christa Puskarich, and our brand is Leona's Ice Cream and Ice Cream Sandwiches.
At Leona's, we make small-batch ice cream pints and sandwiches using local dairy and ingredients whenever possible. With the help of a natural enzyme, we make 100% lactose-free ice cream using 100% real dairy - because every belly should enjoy ice cream! We make our cookies, flavorings, and mix-ins from scratch, many from old family recipes. Our ice cream is Super-Premium, which means it's made with less air, more cream, and only the highest quality ingredients.
Why did you start your brand?
Katie's ice cream obsession started just about the time she developed severe lactose intolerance. Years of trying dairy alternatives lead to disappointment and flavor fatigue. There were simply no options that were tackling interesting flavors and challenging combinations like the world of craft ice cream. After Christa and Katie received an ice cream maker as a wedding present in 2011, something clicked. In quick succession, Katie left the world of public relations, attended culinary school and the famous Penn State Ice Cream Short Course. With the tools and resources (and an insane amount of research) the couple started making ice cream in the back of Zeke's Coffee shop. Within a few years, Christa and Katie left the corporate world behind to run Leona's full time.
What's one product that you want our customers to know about?
Ice Cream Sandwiches!!! Life can get you down, especially mid-work week and you deserve a treat.
3 words on Pittsburgh:
Feels like home.
Why are you proud of your brand?
Together we have grown Leona's from one location to more than 60 and support a staff of seven. As of last month, we purchased our production space in Wilkinsburg and are now firmly rooted in the neighborhood. We can't wait to see it grow!
Where can we learn more about Leona's?
You can learn more about us and where to find our ice cream at www.leonaspgh.com