House of Ice Cream in downtown Stockton is more than a place to cool off away from the tri-valley heat.
Husband and wife owners Roderick and Aminda Tyler opened the business in May 2016 for one important reason.
“We were poor, so we needed money. It was mainly like just being in the struggle and trying to find a way out. We liked ice cream, we wasn’t necessarily passionate about it, but now we are,” said Roderick.
But the Tyler’s aren’t just in it for the cash.
“Customer service is the most important thing to us. We treat everyone really good, it’s an individual experience,” he said.
“These are people that we help, we don’t just see dollar signs. We try to make relationships with our customers. We want to build a relationship with them, where If they’re going through something we can help them somehow.”
Madison Williams, a regular since 2017, said she likes the positive energy at House of Ice cream as well as the customer service.
“Everybody’s really friendly, everybody’s always smiling as we come in, they actually recognize me,” she said.
Williams favorite thing to order is the Crazy Shake, a creative concoction starting with a mason jar rimmed with frosting filled with a milkshake and topped with a scoop of ice cream, one donut, whipped cream and a topping.
The owners use locally sourced ingredients in their products and make the ice cream fresh daily.
“A good friend of mine, he has a ranch. We get a lot of our milk from there, creamer, stuff like that whenever we can,” said Roderick.
The donuts they use come from Aminda’s father’s donut shop called Daily Fresh Donuts in Manteca.
Customer Vanessa Casas and her five-year-old daughter Cali come to House of Ice cream for the quality.
“When I’m feeding my kid, I want to know what the food is made of and where it comes from. At this place, the ingredients are fresh and simple,” she said.
The Tyler’s try to be as green as possible.
“We don’t like to give receipts, but if somebody asks for one we do. And we pay employees through direct deposit and just, all paperless,” said Roderick.
Even the atmosphere in the shop is outdoor friendly.
“We open all our windows and a lot of our doors so we can get like, natural lighting,” he added.
The business hasn’t been without setbacks.
In June 2017 Roderick was taking out the trash one night when a group of men cornered and assaulted him.
A neighbor Deborah Wellington saw it happening through her window, went outside and bravely stood up to the armed men telling them the police were coming. The men fled the scene, she took care of Roderick until medics arrived.
“You know what I don’t feel it was right, I don’t feel it was wrong, I just felt like it was what needed to be done,” said Wellington.
Hours after the attack, with a broken jaw Roderick wrote on social media: “Love always wins.”
He said of the experience, “anything negative in my life, I don’t like sob about it, I try to use it as motivation.”
“You see bad stuff going on everywhere, even in the nicest areas like L.A. or San Francisco, you can’t escape it, so live your life,” he said.
Roderick was a Delta College student but said the curriculum was redundant and outdated and left.
“You gotta know people out here like, school don’t teach you nothing except to be social and meet people, it’s not about the grades you make but the hands you shake,” he said.