It was ten years ago that an enormous acrylic ice cream cone appeared in front of a tiny store on Honolulu Avenue. Mark and Mia Pedersen, a brother and sister duo from Denmark, launched the first Paradis ice cream shop outside of Denmark right here in Montrose. Ice cream and frozen yogurt stores have come and gone in our community, but Paradis has seen an ever-increasing following of devotees that has led to Mark and Mia opening two additional stores in Old Town Pasadena and Monrovia. The brand has taken off, with sixteen locations now throughout Southern California. Customers crave the unbelievably silky flavors, and they appreciate the all-natural ingredients. Paradis Montrose recently celebrated their tenth anniversary with free ice cream for everyone! This is the classic American dream story, told to me by Mark:
My sister Mia and I grew up in a small town called Randers in Denmark. We travelled a lot in our youth, including several trips to California, and we fell completely in love with this place. Years later after we finished college and had some business experience, we decided to pull up our roots and move to California. In order to get a business visa we needed to invest our savings, so we contacted our favorite local ice cream franchise and asked to bring their brand to California. We spent three months visiting every city and town in Los Angeles County when someone suggested we check out Montrose. We arrived on a sunny Sunday, and after experiencing the farmer’s market and super friendly people we found an available space and signed a lease three days later. Montrose is special because of its small-town feel, the old store fronts and the history of the town. It actually reminded us a bit of Denmark. Montrose stands out from the rest of LA County, and we love that.
We faced many obstacles, as I’m sure most new businesses do. Several times we faced issues with shipping our ingredients from across the world. They would get stuck in customs, and we couldn’t offer certain flavors that our customers asked for daily. I think we became successful because we love what we do, and we truly love customer service. We have been very involved in the local community, and we care about our store and product more than anyone can imagine. We also have been consistent in developing new products and flavors, and the look of our store. Our kitchen moved from Montrose to San Fernando four years ago when we opened stores in Pasadena and Monrovia. We have plans to open additional stores so stay tuned!
Paradis sells hundreds ice cream flavors, and the daily menu is posted on Facebook and Instagram. The most popular signature flavors include Sea Salt Caramel, Oreo and Santo Domingo Chocolate. Mark and Mia’s personal favorites are Coffee Chocolate Chip and Mango Cheesecake, but Mark says you can’t go wrong with a strawberry shake.
As an ice cream snob, I can honestly say Paradis ice cream is comparable to the best gelatos I’ve tasted throughout Europe. It is so delicious that I had Paradis cater an ice cream bar at two of my children’s weddings. It was a hit! Mark and Mia Pedersen realized early that superior product and excellent customer service is the perfect business model—and it makes our community happy. It also brings Mark and Mia immense satisfaction: What we love most about owning our ice cream stores is the daily contact and conversations with customers. Putting a smile on peoples’ faces for a living is a dream come true!
Paradis Handcrafted Ice Cream is located at 2323 Honolulu Avenue in Montrose.