Blending the old with the new, Desert Dream Ice Cream is still the new kid on Fourth Avenue, but they bring a new taste to an old business.
Just around the corner, on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, Desert Dream Ice Cream has been satisfying Fourth Avenue shoppers since Nov. 2018. Not long after the shop’s first anniversary on the avenue, it seems to be faring well.
Desert Dream Ice Cream became Fourth Avenue’s resident ice creamery when the business moved into the old location of Isabella’s Ice Cream. Desert Dream Ice Cream is currently owned and operated by 22-year-old Zech Bergeron.
“Fourth Avenue is something new every day,” Zech Bergeron said. “One day it’s the mermaid parade. Another day it’s the street fair and then the car show and then a march for climate change. Being on Fourth Avenue is like vacation, a place for gathering of friends, trying new foods and a fun touch of history throughout it all.”
Although the ice creamery is still in it’s budding stages on the avenue, it has a much longer history.
Former owner Alden Greene opened the business as DownEast Ice Cream 40 years earlier in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. After moving to Tucson, Greene changed the name to suit the city’s Sonoran aesthetic and reopened on 1058 N. Campbell Ave.
“[Greene] is a master and taught Zech so much, I think it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted and I don’t even love sweets,” Heather Bergeron, Zech Bergeron’s mother, said in a text message. “Desert Dream is different because it is family owned and operated; although Zech is not technically in [Greene]’s family, [Greene] sort of adopted him and invested in him.”
Zech Bergeron bought the business from Greene in 2018. When Greene was looking to retire, Zech Bergeron, a Tucson native, was just getting started. Greene sold Zech Bergeron all of his original ice cream recipes and even taught him how to make it.
“[Greene] was reluctant at first, but he still agreed to sell us the recipes with the agreement that we wouldn’t change them and keep the quality he had,” Zech Bergeron said. “I didn’t want to change it either way. I loved his project and everything about this store.”
Desert Dream Ice Cream has 36 house-made flavors, courtesy of Greene. Each flavor is inspired by Greene’s roots on the East Coast.
“There’s love in the ice cream and in these recipes; they have been in the making for the past 40 years,” Zech Bergeron said. “It’s a taste of the East Coast in Tucson.”
Zech Bergeron has continued the ice cream shop with the help and support of his family. Zech Bergeron’s brother, Noah Bergeron, partnered with him to get the store up and running. His mother, Heather Bergeron, said she spends a lot of time with her son at the store.
As a mother, Heather Bergeron was worried for her son when she first learned of his plans to take ownership of the shop — especially considering her son’s age. Despite her fears, however, she said she “couldn’t be more proud of how he rose to the occasion.”
“I am astounded by all that he brings to this business every day,” Heather Bergeron said in a text message. “He is always strategizing and thinking of ways to make the Desert Dream better, new and exciting flavors and combinations, new products, and how to impact the community on [Fourth] Avenue.”
Zech Bergeron said he felt Desert Dream Ice Cream stood out from other mom and pop’s because of the combination of the experience he got from Greene along with his “young and new energy.”
Zech Bergeron’s plans for the shop are uncertain, he said. He doesn’t want to be the owner of a grand franchise with hundreds of locations. His hope is to build his brand and sell ice cream to the majority of local shops in the downtown area.
Desert Dream Ice Cream is located on 210 N. Fourth Ave. Operating hours are between noon and 10 p.m. every day.
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