Julian Lopez owns First Class Ice Cream in Oxford. A young entrepreneur at just 22 years old, Lopez considers opening his business a part of the American dream his parents immigrated here to fulfill.
First Class Ice Cream sells ice cream and popsicles made from Mexican recipes (chocolate, vanilla, but also such flavors as pineapple with chili), as well as Mexican street foods like Dorilocos (“Crazy Doritos”).
The shop is at 426 Main St. in downtown Oxford. For more information, call 256-342-5001 or email email@example.com.
What is your professional background?
I graduated from Oxford High School in 2014, and I graduated from Gadsden State in 2016 with a certificate in diesel tech. I am currently a junior at Jacksonville State University majoring in occupational safety and health management.
Why did you choose those fields of study?
Diesel tech was an interest of mine, but I felt like after I graduated I did not want to do that for the rest of my life. I am majoring in occupational health and safety management because I worked on a pipeline when I graduated high school. When I decided that diesel tech was not for me, I figured that being a safety inspector would be a good thing because safety is a big problem out there on something as dangerous as the pipeline.
How did you get into the ice cream business?
It goes with how I got the name “First Class Ice Cream.” I have a passion for traveling. I will travel every chance I get, whether it is a roadtrip or catching a flight. Some of the most amazing vacations I have had were in Mexico, where my parents are from. I have a lot of family out there, so I go there a lot. That is where the inspiration for the ice cream business came from; there are a lot of shops in Mexico similar to this one. Maybe one day I will take that first-class flight. I would not say I have a passion for ice cream, but I like it just as much as anyone else. I opened First Class Ice Cream because I wanted to be my own boss. If it does well, then I might stick with it and just hang my degree on the wall. For now, I am in a happy place. I like what I am doing right here.
What items do you sell?
We sell ice cream, popsicles and we have a few other snacks. Typically you would see something like that on a busy street in a big city in Mexico — like street vendors in Chicago or New York City. You would see the corn we sell off the cob or the Dorilocos, which is like a walking taco. The menu will be changing soon because we want to focus and stay true to our name.
Tell us about the ice cream and popsicles you sell.
All the recipes for the ice cream (nieves) and popsicles (paletas) are Mexican recipes. These are not flavors you would typically get at a Cold Stone or Baskin-Robbins or anything like that. We are a little different.
How many employees do you have?
Typically it is just my mom and me; my sister and a family friend help every now and then.
What is your favorite item you sell?
That is tough. My favorite is the pistachio ice cream.
What are you passionate about?
The Lord. He has led me to many great things and blessed me with many great things. Every day I wake up, everything I do is in his honor. Glory be to him. If I had to be passionate about something else, it would be making people happy. I like making people smile.
What does it mean to you to open your business as a first-generation American?
This is an effort to make my family proud because they have done so much for me. They sacrificed everything. They left their country and came to the United States for a better life and to give me the opportunities they could not have.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.