After the COVID-19 pandemic drove restaurants to close their dining rooms, Sydney Newton was let go from her job as a waitress at The Capital Grille, just like so many other people. The mother of two had to start concentrating on the education of her children, providing assistance through their virtual learning.
To combat depression and boredom, the Northwood Baltimore native started making ice cream with her children. She told Afro News, “They loved it, and I did too. I loved that you could do so many things with ice cream. You can experiment with flavors, textures, smells, and colors. We started delivering the ice cream to my sister and my mom, and they told me I should put it on Instagram to deliver it to more people, and we did.”
Sydney’s Ice Creams now serves people two days a week at 3432 Belair Road in Northeast Baltimore’s Belair-Edison neighborhood ahead of a grand opening for a brick-and-mortar store in Spring 2024. It offers a variety of flavors, including birthday cake, cherry cheesecake, s’mores, and soon some sorbets.
The mompreneur believes that the ice cream shop will bring people together in a positive way. She plans to have a big opening on April 1, but in the meantime, she will be throwing ice cream parties and events to test new flavors.
Newton recalled how, as a child, she wished her neighborhood had an ice cream shop. When she was in elementary school, she remembered being able to visit Eddie’s Market. However, students from Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, which she attended, had to wait outside in a queue, while students from the private schools in the vicinity could enter right away.
Fortuitously, Newton’s hunt for a location to establish a brick-and-mortar store for her company a few years ago led her to meet John Watkins, community real estate development manager for Belair-Edison Neighborhoods.
Watkins finds homes on Belair Road, the neighborhood’s major thoroughfare, to buy, refurbish, and rent to small business owners as part of his job. In addition to paying for the installation of a kitchen hood so that Newtown may serve baked products, his crew completed the $280,000 renovation of 3432 Belair Road to accommodate Sydney’s Ice Creams.
Watkins shared, “I think it will definitely impact the neighborhood in a positive way. We have about 50 businesses on Belair Road, and Sydney’s ice cream parlor is the first of its kind. A lot of our residents want to be able to spend money in the neighborhood that they live in. I think it’s going to be a great addition.”
He estimates that over 18,000 people are living in the Belair-Edison neighborhood, and of those, nearly 65% are homeowners. He believes that this shows how proud the neighborhood’s citizens are of their community and that the ice cream business will provide jobs for the locals.
“I’m excited to have my ice cream shop so close to so many schools and to see kids come in after school and be treated fairly,” Newton expressed.