In a homegrown success story, Van Leeuwen announced a major expansion after raising $18.7 million in funding from the private equity firm NextWorld Evergreen.
The beloved local ice cream brand has gone bi-coastal since its humble Greenpoint beginnings with 21 brick and mortar shops in Los Angeles and NYC.
In 2008, Van Leeuwen co-owner Laura O’Neill, along with brothers Ben and Pete, started selling ice cream from a bright yellow truck on the streets of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
The business was born a year earlier at 248 Driggs Ave. as O’Neil recalls: “That was where we came up with all the original recipes and wrote out our business plan.” In 2010, the first Van Leeuwen shop opened on Manhattan Avenue.
An expansion of Van Leeuwen’s Greenpoint 40-employee production facility is also in the works as that the company will double its ice cream output with new equipment. “We’re doing some modifications and expansion of our factory to double our capacity, which is super exciting,” O’Neil said.
While Van Leeuwen has the classic flavors covered, the company will look to grow upon their decadent and delicious vegan recipes like its newest line of oak milk-based ice cream that debuted earlier this winter. “With the new factory it’s really gonna open things up for us to be able to do a ton more innovation,” O’Neil said.
More grocery stores will soon carry the ice cream, and Van Leeuwen can be found in approximately 2,000 “freezer doors” across the U.S. already.
The NYC area will also additional Van Leeuwen shops opening soon, with the next location planned for the American Dream mall in Jersey City.