10 years of Selling smiles

The side of Betsy's ice cream truck with kids waiting in line
“It’s a happy business,” said Betsy’s owner Ryan Miller. Betsy’s ice cream truck launched in 2020. /Photo: John Schisler

The smile on a young child’s face as she takes a bite of the creamy, chunky fan-favorite Pittsburgh Pride ice cream never gets old for Ryan Miller.

A decade ago, Miller and his wife, Betsy, were walking along Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon when they noticed something was missing: ice cream.

A corporate marketer by trade, Miller was at the point in his career where he faced a big decision—go back to school for his master’s degree or leave and do something different.

“I decided to do something different,” said Miller, Sleepy Hollow Road, who opened Betsy’s Homemade Ice Cream in Uptown on March 7, 2012. “I was like, ‘Let’s do something where everyone’s
always happy…. We wanted a positive place for the community.”

The ice cream shop was an immediate hit, and, while it’s faced a lot of ups and downs during the last decade—specifically because of the pandemic—they’ve found a way to push forward, with new additions like an ice cream truck, which made its debut in 2020.

Betsy’s Homemade Ice Cream is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“It’s changed and evolved a lot,” Miller said of the last decade. “Our primary business now is supplying wholesale ice cream for other ice cream shops and restaurants. We’ve really started getting more into doing pints for grocery stores, too.”

You can now find Betsy’s Homemade Ice Cream all across western Pennsylvania and down into West Virginia, in grocery and convenience stores and several ice cream shops.

All of Betsy’s Homemade Ice Cream is made from their Washington Road shop, which has doubled in size over the past several years.

“It’s amazing in the last 10 years, watching the people grow up and the families grow and change,” he said. “The kids that I remember coming in that were four or five years old are now starting to come in and apply for jobs behind the counter.”

At the start of COVID-19, Miller pivoted, purchasing a 1973 Chevy Good Humor truck. Because of its age, the truck stays within a 17-minute radius of the shop.

Now that the business has expanded into wholesale, Miller doesn’t get to stand behind the counter and wait on as many customers these days. He’s found a nice balance that allows him to be home with children Landon, 5, and Cameron, 4, for their evening and weekend activities. But Miller still can be found, at times, making deliveries and driving the ice cream truck.

Seeing people line up outside the shop to this day is still exciting for Miller.

For more on Betsy’s visit www.betsysicecream.com or call 412-668-0379.