Case Study

Penny Ice Creamery

Case penny

Zachary Davis and Kendra Baker, Penny Ice Creamery Co-Founders

Zachary Davis may have an MBA, and Kendra Baker may be one of the most talented chefs in the region, with a stint at the Michelin-starred Manresa on her resume, but when they visited the Office of Economic Development in 2010 to make their dream of the Penny Ice Creamery a reality, they had little insight into the potential costs and complexities of starting a business in Santa Cruz, California.


Not only did they need to find a location that met their needs for foot traffic and raw square footage, they needed to learn about local zoning and building permit information, impact fees, new utility hook-ups and ongoing charges to be part of a Downtown property association and business improvement district that would only start after they opened their business.

"I don’t mind paying for permits and licenses, I just want clarity on what's due and when. Its one less worry during a complex and stressful time during the life of a business."

This was a lot to absorb, and at the time, the City had no way give Zach and Kendra an itemized list of the permits and fees that would apply to their project or a unified application portal that would replace a stack of individualized PDFs.


Working with Zach and Kendra on their first business helped to inspire OpenCounter’s creation, and as their business grew and they added a second, third and fourth location to their enterprises they used OpenCounter to streamline their communications with the City.