PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — It’s been a rough time for people opening their businesses due to the pandemic. 

However, that hasn’t stopped one Pensacola couple from opening their own ice cream shop and convenience store. WKRG News 5 spoke with the owners of AJ’s Market and Ice Cream about how they hope their business will give others a little bit of inspiration.

The store will be having a soft opening today and say the community is has been giving them really positive feedback.

Co-owner Judy Moldavon says, “Everyday they have been coming in and they have this need for it. They just really want to come in rather than get in the car and go shopping.” 

And co-owner Alan Mandel adds, “You know when it’s like you usually start a business its a struggle and you want to figure out ways to get people in and want to thank the community for supporting us and here, they are thanking us.” 

Alan Mandel and Judy Moldavon say it was love at first sight when they met years ago. 

Both of them had successful careers and were in their retirement stage when they met and decided Pensacola was the move for them. However, they tell WKRG News 5 retirement wasn’t as all as it was cracked out to be. So, they started their own shop.

Moldavon says, “This just felt right and it changed our lives. It made us younger.”

“Tt gave us a real purpose,” Mandel adds.

The couple started AJ’s Market and Ice Cream located at the Southtowne Apartment Complex in downtown Pensacola, both saying they had no idea what to expect.

“What we enjoyed,” says Mandel, “We aren’t decorators but we went to the paint store we picked the colors, we picked the layout, and piece by piece we got to build it from the ground up.”

The ’50s style parlor has anything people around town need… from ice cream to fresh produce. 

The couple even sent out a survey to people in the community to make sure they offered something people were wanting in the area. While most would be scared to open up a business during the pandemic they say this was a perfect time to do so.

“I think it thrives in the pandemic because it’s close to home and serves the neighborhood,” says Mandel.

They have also made it their mission to incorporate other local businesses into their shop. And while this is all new to them—they are excited to see what’s to come. 

Moldavon says,”We learn as we go.” 

“I’m looking forward to get my chocolate malts and chocolate shakes, and banana split besides the brownie sundae I enjoy making… I’m thinking about working out something with Krispy Kreme and I would like to invent a doughnut sundae,” Mandel adds.

For more information about the shop, click here.