New York City’s first “Big Gay Ice Cream Shop” has officially shuttered because of the pandemic.
Since opening its doors at 125 East 7th Street in the East Village in September of 2011, the ice cream shop has become a visible and notable piece of Manhattan’s LGBTQ businesses. However, the store has been experiencing financial difficulty and has been closed since the pandemic started in March. The owners announced that this location will not be reopening this year.
“With great sadness but with no regrets, Bryan and I decided that the time came for Big Gay Ice Cream to close our East Village location,” Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint, the shop’s founders, wrote in a statement on January 22 to EV Grieve, a blog covering Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “We decided that even if the shop managed to make it through ‘the COVID thing’ it would never truly recover.”
They added, “We need to be able to jam customers in during the summer to make enough money to get us through the off-season. That won’t work anymore. Knowing that the usual fall semester student rush won’t be coming this year, we have decided to call it.”
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop started as a food truck in 2009 and soon expanded to multiple locations throughout the city. While some of the shop’s other locations remain open, the store at South Street Seaport is closed.
Even as the pandemic shuts down many LGBTQ businesses, the owners are still hopeful and want to expand.