Bella Roy, the desert’s original ice cream lady.
Palm Springs, 1952: It occurred to Bella Roy, an enterprising young woman who recently arrived in town, that a mobile ice cream vending business would be an ideal venture to launch in the burgeoning desert community. It wasn’t long before the 28 year old acquired her first vehicle, a modified jeep with a refrigerated compartment. Almost every day, Roy traveled to Foremost Foods an hour away in Riverside to collect her inventory, which she then dispensed at points throughout the Coachella Valley
Later, she upgraded to a specially outfitted Datsun pick-up truck with “Bella’s Ice Cream” emblazoned along its sides. Quite the character (she reportedly spoke five languages), Roy drove valley streets until 1989. Whether catering to neighborhood kids or crowds at events such as the Palm Springs Rodeo Parade, Bella’s Ice Cream enjoyed an enthusiastic following for more than three decades.
They knew Bella Roy from one end of the Coachella Valley to the other. For more than three decades, she was the desert’s ice cream lady, revered by children and grownups who would eagerly await her arrival with the cool, refreshing goods. When she wasn’t making the neighborhood rounds, Roy served the sweet stuff at popular events thoughout the valley.