You bet says, Harry Felder, owner of Heavenly Ice Cream.
Arriving in Southern Anne Arundel County as pastor of the Living Waters Bible Church, the Baptist minister wanted to reach out to the community and bring God in. But how?
Much family thought and prayer went into the conclusion that there’s no better way to reach people than through ice cream. “The idea floated down,” he told Bay Weekly.
No one in the family of five had a clue as to how to begin making ice cream. They studied the subject online, bought a Taylor ice cream machine and began experimenting. Several trials and errors later, a heavenly batch satisfied the Felders’ taste buds. Thus was Heavenly Ice Cream born, as a family business across the road from the church.
Regular flavors include Bubble Gum, Cake and Cream, Cherry Vanilla, Georgia Peach, Pineapple, Peanut Butter and Super Chocolate. Some — typically butter pecan, chocolate, French vanilla and strawberry — have sugar-free options. All are made fresh with fresh ingredients in the West River storefront.
“When we make apple ice cream, we put a whole apple pie in the mix,” explains Felder. “For pineapple, we use fresh pineapple and mix up the batch. The same for peach. For Oreo, we use our own cookies.”
The goodness of the ice cream draws in customers, which was Felder’s plan all along. Heavenly Ice Cream is an outreach of his ministry, and he’s at his happiest greeting his customers and talking with young people. He’d love to connect them to his church.
Still, you can get your ice cream without a topping of religion.
“I try to make my store a place of enjoyment,” Felder says.
He hopes to build up the surrounding community as well as the church community. There’s not a lot to do thereabouts. Especially for nondrivers. Especially that’s affordable.
One of the first customers when Heavenly Ice Cream opened in 2008 was a father and two daughters. He’d recently lost his job.
What brought him in? Felder wanted to know.
“Where else can I go with $4 and treat my girls to ice cream?” the father replied.
“We serve ice cream pretty much affordable to anyone,” Felder says. “Hard or soft ice cream: We have both. Our soft serve is made from real ice cream and is very affordable at a dollar a cone.”
Ice cream treats get more affordable if you know your Bible. A Biblical question is displayed on a small blackboard. Answer the question, and you get a free topping for your ice cream.
Felder reports that he now has “children from six to 12 coming in with their Bibles.”
Another benefit, Felder says, “is that we hire local young people to work in the store.” His one stipulation? “They must have passing grades.”
Find Heaven at 5544B Muddy Creek Road. It’s open every day 10am to 9pm, including Sunday after church until 8pm.