A Fresno native, Amelia Bennett has always had a strong appreciation for her Valley home and its “big-city-meets-small-town vibes.” After graduating from Baylor University in Waco, Texas (shoutout to Chip and Jo), Amelia felt lost in the career department until she found herself working as a dental assistant. , During those years, she fell in love with her now husband Jeff, a food industry veteran. Together, they’ve taken a shared sweet tooth and a big idea (that once seemed unimaginable) to create Ampersand Ice Cream.
Amelia explains that her dream wasn’t just about ice cream, but more about giving back to the town that she grew up in. She considers Fresno to be “the land of opportunity” (couldn’t agree more) and she and Jeff knew they were in the perfect spot to pursue their dream of starting a business. Once they decided to take the entrepreneur plunge , they recognized that they “wanted to be in the food and beverage realm, and there wasn't any handcrafted ice cream in the Fresno area.” After that aha moment, Amelia began teaching herself to make ice cream in their home, opening Ampersand’s doors a year later.
From day one, Amelia realized just how special their ice cream was going to be to Fresno. Word spread fast during their opening, and it wasn’t long before they had a line out the door, leaving the Ampersand crew slightly unprepared. Amelia laughs when she looks back on the first customer who asked for five pints of ice cream and the scramble that ensued. Laughing aside, it’s safe to say they’ve nailed down their routines over the years -- the shop is now running like a well-oiled machine and consistently pushes the envelope when it comes to creative flavors.
Since those first scoops were served back in 2015, Ampersand has continued to whet Fresno’s appetite for artisanal ice cream in fun ways, from a traveling tricycle cart and even an Ampersand Airstream catering trailer. They just opened a second brick and mortar location at Herndon & Marks in Northwest Fresno, officially spreading the love even further.
By creating this business, Amelia and Jeff hoped “to do something that made Fresno proud, open something that people would bring their friends to from out of town.” Mission: accomplished. Here at RPM PR money doesn’t buy us happiness, BUT it does buy us Ampersand ice cream (and that’s pretty much the same thing).