Kind Ice Cream
Kind Ice Cream's Queer Origins
By Marisa Peters
“I always knew that it was not a normal friendship, in terms of the intensity and love.” says Morris.
She recalls a trip where the sisters [Candyce and Nicole] were staying in an ashram in India with very little internet access.
“There was like one day a week where we had internet; so, I would be checking in with everyone back home and Nicole would sit there writing one long email to Paula,” says Morris.
“She was so annoyed,” laughs Bhar.
“It just wasn’t on our radar that we could be gay for each other,” jokes Shyba. “In our early twenties it was a lot more binary—either you’re gay or you’re straight.”
Shyba, who was raised in Calgary (but who insists on a loyalty to Edmonton and cheers for the Oilers, don’t worry) notes that her hometown had this vibrant social ice cream scene, where you could just pop out after dinner for a quick, low-commitment, community experience. Edmonton didn’t have that.
Shyba says that they are fortunate not to have experienced many barriers being a queer-owned business, “besides someone who commented on Instagram that we only hire ‘LGB people’.”
The trio try to prioritize safety and representation for their employees and customers by doing things like prioritizing non-gendered language.
“Many of the staff are younger and for some of them, this is their first job,” adds Morris. “I hope that we’re setting a standard for other businesses. I hope our staff knows they should have that expectation of other employers.”
“The name Kind encapsulates the community piece we were going for. It’s simple, memorable and conveys a lot of our values. We want to be kind to the community, the environment…we want to be a kind employer,” says Shyba.
Kind’s birthday falls within Pride month; so, for the month of June, Kind is scooping a fan favourite flavour “Gay-OK” (a cereal milk base mixed with Froot Loops) and donating a portion of the profits to organizations supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Besides “Gay-OK”, Morris and Bhar recommend Birthday Cake as one of the gayer flavours. Shyba says, “Cold Brew—it’s definitely a lesbian ice cream flavour.”
In both locations a bold branding piece lights up the shops that reads “Be Kind Babies,” a spin on the quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”