MIRAMAR, Fla. – Inside the Miramar warehouse belonging to the San Bernardo Ice Cream Company, thousands of gallons of ice cream is stacked to the ceiling. Their profits are melting away.
"Our business is down 70%," said San Bernardo CEO Jonathan Tammara.
San Bernardo Ice Cream may not be a household name, but their delightful desserts are served everywhere around South Florida. It was originally owned by a Cuban family and is a mainstay in the hospitality industry.
"Our big industries are casinos and colleges and cruises," said Tammara. "Our big markets are New York, New Jersey and Southern California. So, every which way you look at it, COVID-19 put a big bullseye on us. We were a small business punching bag."
Tammara knew they were in trouble in January when his profits started to slide, as cruises in Europe were disrupted by the pandemic. Florida cruises were still running, but he realized that he had to supply his drivers with personal protective gear in anticipation of an outbreak here.
When he did find hand sanitizer, he felt ripped off.
"When I had to pay seventy dollars for one gallon of sanitizer, I was like, 'This is crazy!'" he said. "It was out of control."
Tammara then set out on a mission to find wholesale personal protective equipment (PPE) and when he did, he decided he would source it and sell it at a reasonable price to other local businesses.
"We want to make sure the sanitation officers in Carol City, the Mayor’s office in Hialeah, is covered," he said. "I want to make sure businesses like mine are covered."
Tammara has a few dessert clients still around, and he just launched a plant based frozen dessert called “NO BULL” at Whole Foods.
He still supplies some independent grocers and assisted living facilities, but he continues trying to find new business every day.
He has not had to lay off any of his 16 full time workers and hopes he never has too.
Tammara is also passionate about making sure personal protective gear is readily available, and is packaging custom kits of any size to fit any need. Tammara says selling PPE will not replace what he has, but he was forced to choose a new purpose in this pandemic.
"We have a lot of hard working people and I am confident that between the PPE and the NO BULL going into wholefoods, we will get through this," he said.
To find out more about San Bernardo Ice Cream and their PPE business, you can visit their website by clicking here, or call 954-322-2668.