3/23/20 update - Both DTLA and West 3rd locations are closed today as the management team meets virtually to discuss next steps. Thank you for your continued support on our GoFundMe fundraiser - we are blessed to have such a great community. Please share our GoFundMe fundraiser with your friends and family on social media!
We were on ABC7 to talk about how the crisis has affected us:
If you don't feel like reading, here's the link to the GoFundMe page. If our business has touched you in a positive way, please help us and we will thank you with gelato / e-gift cards!
Dearest Friends, Neighbors and Customers,
I know you have been bombarded with requests to help. We are making an urgent please to help us continue our mission of bringing our city the best gelato - all of your contributions will benefit the employees (who will continue getting paid) and our vendors (we need to keep our lights on).
The last eight years I have incessantly been obsessing over one thing and one thing only – creating frozen dessert recipes from my heart to share with my city. Gelateria Uli is the product of this drive against all odds. I am eternally grateful to all of you for supporting my business. In addition to making gelato, this business has also become a sanctuary of sorts for employees passing through my doors on their way to bigger and better things. I am constantly humbled by the incredible people who have chosen to work at Gelateria Uli. So the last two weeks, I have made it my duty to be funny and light for the sake of employees' anxiety about the future. But I also feel responsible for the livelihood of the incredible people who make this place what it is - 12 hard-working, beautiful and kind employees. While the world is going into a shutdown mode, I want to keep my gelato family safe and taken care of. Your pledges will translate into delicious, award-winning gelato at your fingertips. At the same time, we will keep our people employed and our little industrious production facility going.
We are taking extra precautions at our stores. Today (3/17), like every single other day, we have spent at least 4 hours disinfecting every corner of the store. We haven’t stopped our production either as our incredible product has a very long freezer shelf life. We want to have enough inventory until the city/state/country forces us into a lockdown.
This campaign will accomplish two very important goals – in times like this, you need something to make you happy, a.k.a. our gelati and sorbet. And we need to keep our employees paid and our lights - otherwise we won't be here when this blows over. Let’s keep our gelato community going. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP. We love you very very much!
You can read more about Gelateria Uli here:
More information and press about our stores at https://www.gelateriauli.com/press
About our Gelateria's amazing staff you will get to support:
Vinny has been with Gelateria Uli since day minus one – the downtown store opened on 04/14/14 and Vinny’s first day was 04/13/14. He is our Saint Patron Vinny because of how nice and generous he is, often found buying lunch for the entire staff. His official job title is Production Manager but unofficially he is the rock of the gelato store. Vinny has defied all difficulties in his life, including homelessness and discrimination, to be just a few courses away from being the first person in his family to receive a Bachelor degree. The gelato store was where Vinny came out for the first time. He is smart, loyal and a class-one multi-tasker. All Gelateria Uli customers love him. We have seriously considered renaming the store to Gelateria Vinny. Vinny is also pretty crafty with puns – this is just the way the Speculoos cookie crumbles.
Zulema is a born and raised Angeleno from Boyle Heights. Meeting Zulema is mind-blowing cause it’s really hard to understand how such a smart and beautiful person can be so nice and humble. Zulema has an incredible story - at one point Zulema experienced homelessness in the city of Los Angeles but she and her strong family persevered. Raised by a single mom, not only Zulema graduated from high school with high marks but also got a full ride at University of California in Irvine. Zulema is also vegan and officially Gelateria Uli’s muse for vegan flavors. She has an impeccable taste in music – just ask her for a playlist next time you see her.
Daniela is our talented Production Assistant and gelato maker. Daniela was born in Salvador and moved to the US when she was 11 months old with her family. Daniela is a recipient of DREAM Act and the shining example of what makes this country a great place. Daniela went to LA Trade Tech for Culinary Arts and wants to open her own bakery one day. Daniela lives in a very beautiful and close-knit family and her sister, Ana, started working at our second location last week! During half of Ana’s interview, she talked about her older sister and how much she loves her – that’s when we knew not only Daniela but Ana is also a keeper.
Andrada is our West 3rd location’s rock. Natalie Portman has a doppelganger and ours also serves the city’s best gelato. She is an example of excellent customer service, unwavering loyalty and infinitely kind heart. Andrada is the kind of employee who will clock out and keep cleaning for another hour because of the amount of pride she takes in her work (although we’ve told her a thousand times not to do that). She is a keeper and want it to stay that way.
Sadhu, as his name suggests, is a true sage and a calming presence for our Downtown night shifts. Never misses a day, never late – unicorns do exist. Sadhu’s interests include music and politics. He is born and bred New Yorker with an incredible story of perseverance and overcoming all odds. As with all of our employees, he is also destined for greatness and we just want to make his stay with us filled with positivity and love.
Ange is wise beyond years – our born and bred South Central Angelena, never late, always on time and generally showing nothing but high class customer service. Ange also was recently promoted to Senior Shift Leader. Before the madness swept in, she had just decided to go back to school and continue working towards her Bachelor Degree.
Joe is Ange’s big brother and the most interesting man in the world (picture pints of gelato instead of the beer in the Dos Equis commercial). Joe is two courses away from a bachelor’s from UCLA. You will often find him humming to French music (in perfect French) during his shifts at the gelateria. Known as “Gelato Joe” on the very lovely Yelp platform, Joe attracts nothing but positivity and light everywhere he goes.
Issac, or Cassic as he is known among his friends, is a talented music producer. He works very hard at the Gelato store and during the rest of his time, he produces tracks with some of the up and coming hip hop stars. We are extremely proud of everything he has accomplished and want to make sure we can continue providing him with livelihood while he pursues his passion.
Val interrupted her studies at Humboldt to be closer to her supportive family in Boyle Heights. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology and working part-time at the gelato store. Val is our customer service star with a beaming smile and constantly happy attitude. For Coronavirus, she gave us all the following advice – be happy cause it makes your immune system stronger.
Nico has both a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Music – he has an incredibly bright future ahead of him and we are humbled by the fact that he decided to pass through our beautiful store in the meantime. He has also proved to be an incredibly talented barista since he started working with us.
Vanessa went to Arizona State before she moved to Los Angeles. She is our beacon of light at the West 3rd location, always with a smile and excellent customer service.
Ana is Daniela’s little sister. Her passion in life is supporting her big sis and being there for her. When we heard that in our interview, we melted. She is also cheerful, super cute and loving.
DISCLAIMER: None of your contributions will go towards me personally.
I am originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. At 16, frustrated by my prospects in my home country, I found a full-time job that paid me $50 a month and gave me free dial-up internet to apply to a bunch of colleges and universities in the U.S. My salary barely covered admission fees and shipping from Azerbaijan to the US. I was offered a full-ride by Colorado College and this is how my journey in the US begins. Liberal Arts education taught me the value of pursuing my dreams, so in true Liberal Arts fashion I decided to quit my stable job at an investment management firm after the Great Recession blew over and start a gelato store. The rest is history. Hopefully Coronavirus won't write the last chapter of my gelato store.
Thanks again for everything - we are very lucky to have such a supportive community!
Here are the pledge amounts:
$1 even helps, we will give you a coupon for a free cone.
$15 - you get LIMITED EDITION SAFFRON GELATO with saffron imported from Uli's hometown of Baku, Azerbaijan
$35 - we will supply you with a curated Pint Trio
$400 - you will receive a tabletop 3-flavor gelato catering opportunity for 150 people
$600 - we will cater a party for you with 4 flavors, enough to feed 300 people, or a wedding cake
$1000 - you get two free parties, we'll throw in a 3 tiered gelato cake if we have to, sky's the limit