A Small Business Dream With a Cherry on Top
Meet the woman who turned her passion into a sweet success
It all started in 2008. After more than 20 years in the banking industry, Suzy Batlle got the news she never wanted to hear: “We have to let you go.”
“Economically, it was a rough time," said Suzy. "The banking industry plummeted.” Unemployed, with two small children and facing the unknown – she kept the following goals in mind: 1.) Send her kids to college. 2.) Retire, at some point. But how would she achieve this? Her children had a sweet idea: Open an ice cream shop.
“My kids and I LOVE ice cream,” smiled Suzy. “We would travel miles to find great tasting, quality treats. It was our tradition.”
Suzy admits, opening an ice cream shop was far from anything she’d ever imagined, but still decided to go for it. “My kids inspired me,” she said. “After everything I’d been through, I thought, ‘Why not?’” She planned, took small business courses, attended ice cream school, budgeted, created a marketing strategy, found a space for her shop and concocted countless ice cream recipes.
The Big Day
In July 2011, the Azucar Ice Cream Company officially opened its doors. “It was such an exciting time,” said Suzy. “I opened during a downtown festival – and ran out of product! It was a great problem to have, until I realized, ‘What am I going to sell tomorrow?’” It was a long night of ice cream making, and the start of something big.
Located in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Suzy’s shop pays tribute to her Cuban heritage. While Azucar Ice Cream offers flavors like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – guests will also find an assortment of Cuban options ranging from Mantecado (French vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon ice cream) to Abuela Maria (vanilla ice cream mixed with guava, cream cheese and crispy cookies).
“The Abuela Maria is a Cuban classic,” smiled Suzy. “It warms my heart to see customers taste the flavors and be reminded of home.”
As business blossomed, Suzy met State Farm Agent Javier Areas. “With so much on the line, I wanted to make sure I had everything protected,” she said.
“I was happy to sit down with Suzy,” said Javier. “Being a small business owner myself, I want to eliminate worry and provide support for success. It’s so rewarding to help people and see their business grow.”
During the meeting, Javier discovered Suzy did not have coverage on her warehouse.
“This is the place where the ice cream is made,” explained Javier. “Suzy’s produce, like guava and pineapple is also stored here. In addition to her equipment, the food alone can cost thousands of dollars. If something happened to her warehouse, the costs associated with the loss would be insurmountable.”
“Can you see why I’m grateful to work with Javier? He’s taught me so much!” said Suzy. “He calls me often to check in, but I’ll never forget when he called in 2017 - shortly before Hurricane Irma arrived.”
Being in the heart of Miami, the store is prone to powerful storms. “Last year, I was terrified Hurricane Irma would not only hurt my shop, it would ruin my exterior sign,” said Suzy. “I love that sign. It’s a 29 foot tall ice cream tower – and really eye catching!”
Javier gave Suzy peace of mind.
“Through a Business Policy, this ensured the sign and Suzy’s shop would be OK in case something happened,” said Javier. “It also covers loss of income in the event the hurricane prevented her store from reopening for an extended period of time.”
Luckily, Suzy’s store suffered little to no damage from the storm, but she says – she’s not taking any chances. “When you dedicate your life to building a small business and making it work – you want to make sure it’s protected.”
As the Azucar Ice Cream Company continues to welcome new and familiar faces, Suzy says she’s looking forward to the future. “I’m truly grateful to be able to do this. To turn this dream into a reality. A big thank you to my kids for believing in me. And a big thank you to my State Farm agent Javier who looks out for this business. We’re better because of him.”
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