Founded last year by Lawrence “L-Jay” Pearman and his family on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 6Hundred5 Below Ice Cream Rolls proves to be a trailblazer and benefactor for good health.
Pearman and his wife Jonni were both raised on and are tribal members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in central South Dakota. The Pearman family are located in and operate 6Hundred5 Below out of Eagle Butte, SD, the tribal headquarters of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
The Pearman family don’t create your average ice cream. They make, from scratch, their version of “stir-fried ice cream,” or better known as ice cream rolls. Research uncovered this technique of rolling ice cream on an ice grill existed in Thailand by 2009, which slowly rose to virality over the last few years. Ice cream roll stands and vendors are popping up all over malls and marketplaces in cities throughout the U.S. but remained unseen on the reservation until the Pearman family decided to open up their own business. “I came across it on the internet and thought it would be a good idea,” Pearman explains. “Everyone likes ice cream. The customers we are targeting are people of all ages.”
The reactions by customers and fans are mainly positive. “Most of the customers are amazed at the process. The process is so simple, and the product is delicious.” The family sells their ice cream rolls throughout the reservation at birthday parties and small get-togethers. Once, Pearman received offers to sell ice cream rolls in Rapid City, the second populous city of South Dakota and a 3 and a half hour drive away.
Ice cream rolls aren’t only a sweet treat to enjoy; they’re also a way to help get fresh fruit into one’s diet. “We use fresh fruit to make the ice cream rolls healthy” Pearman explains. “Living a healthy lifestyle is important to my family and me. I want to give people the healthy choice of ice cream.”
The Pearman family create various popular flavors of ice cream rolls, including unique concoctions typically not found at other ice cream roll stands (such as wojapi). Pearman’s personal favorite is Very Berry Cherry, which consists of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas with a milk base.
The Pearman family have one goal in their sight: to have a permanent location. “In one year we hope to be in our own permanent physical space,” explains Pearman. “We would like to continue to have sales at various places, but having a permanent place will be nice.” In five years, the family hopes their business will be going strong and will continue with their traveling.
The love the Pearman family have for each other undoubtedly shines through the business. Working together means the family also spends a lot of time together. Pearman says due to the amount of time spent together, it’s brought them closer as a family. “It has brought a new meaning to teamwork for all of us involved. Working alongside your kids teaches them the importance of responsibility and patience.”
However, there are downsides to the Pearman business. First is finding the best locations to set up their station and sell ice cream rolls to customers. Next is having to travel at least 90 miles one direction to get the proper supplies needed for each sale, as Pearman’s headquarters is in a small town located on a remote reservation. However, the rewards trump the struggles. “Rewards of the business would be to see our customers happy and satisfied with our product,” Pearman explains. “It is also gratifying to have customers return for more; then we know our product is delicious.”
In the Pearman family business, everyone has a role. Pearman’s 12-year-old daughter Ashlyn runs the register and takes orders from customers. “In the future, she will be an ice cream roller,” Pearman says of Ashlyn. Asher, the youngest member of the family, helps where he can and mostly assists with the mixture of the base and prepares toppings for the ice cream rolls. Pearman’s 18-year-old daughter tops all ice cream rolls and takes over the rolling when her parents need a break. Pearman’s wife Jonni fills in for him and only rolls ice cream. If one of the family members isn’t there, another member can perform their role, making the entire process smoother. “All family members can fill in for other members,” Pearman says. “We can complete each other’s responsibilities.”
Although the Pearman family are still in the beginning stages of business ownership and entrepreneurism is still new to them, they’re excited to learn and grow.
To keep up with the Pearman family and find out where they’re having their next ice cream roll sale, follow them on Facebook at 6hundred5 Below – Ice Cream Rolls.