Happy Ice, the Los Angeles-based frozen treat truck founded by Black entrepreneur and Philadelphia native Lemeir Mitchell, opened its first storefront location in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 20, in spite of countless delays and overwhelming obstacles. Happy Ice is a colorful, flavorful and smile inducing riff on the Philadelphia classic “water ice,” which has a smooth, rich, creamy texture reminiscent of ice cream and the light, fruity refreshment of a sorbet—all without any egg, nut, or dairy products of any kind.
Happy Ice was founded as a food truck concept in 2017 by Lemeir Mitchell, whose story is nothing short of awe-inspiring. After his father was incarcerated with a life-sentence in prison and his brother passed away unexpectedly, Mitchell, realizing tomorrow is promised for no one, left his beloved hometown of Philadelphia to pursue his dream of becoming a leading tattoo artist on the premier Los Angeles stage. Mitchell found a shop on Melrose Avenue where he began tattooing and slept on the shop floor to make ends meet. During this time, he fell in love with the Los Angeles food truck culture, and the idea for Happy Ice was born.
“So many different races bring a piece of their hometown to Los Angeles, and that is what sparked my idea for creating Happy Ice. I didn’t create Happy Ice just for business reasons, I created Happy Ice because I was a consumer myself,” said Mitchell. “I missed being able to get water ice with my friends, laughing and catching up while eating it. So, I decided to create that experience in LA for myself and to share it with everyone else. Happiness is universal—there’s a word for it in every language. I want help create that feeling for people worldwide, so the name Happy Ice fit perfectly. I want Happy Ice to be a symbol of unity and a better future—our vision is for this shop to be a place of peace, happiness and laughter. We aren’t just out here to sell a product, we are delivering happiness in a cup, and we are so excited to welcome Angelenos into our doors.”
After the first Happy Ice truck started its engine in late 2017, the concept quickly gained popularity with its eye-catching, vegan-friendly, super-refreshing treats, and celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Post Malone were soon seen and photographed paying the truck a visit. In 2018, a chance encounter between Mitchell and investor Ted Foxman led to a nearly $1 million investment into Happy Ice that expanded its truck fleet and kick-started the opening of this new brick-and-mortar location.
“Lemeir is an inspirational person and is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. He was dealt a tough hand at the beginning of his life, so supporting this young Black man as he pours his heart and soul into making this business a success has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” said Foxman. “Happy Ice is on the verge of becoming an iconic household brand that brings joy to everyone it touches, and we can’t wait to share our passion and the product of Lemeir’s labor when we open the doors of the LA shop this weekend.”
The Happy Ice storefront is located at 7324 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles.