Adventist-Owned Ice Cream Parlor in Malaysia Offers Taste, Positive Influence

For more than five decades, the restaurant has been a trusted community hub.

Edward Rodriguez and Hazel Wanda Ginajil-Gara, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Adventist-Owned Ice Cream Parlor in Malaysia Offers Taste, Positive Influence
Sunny Hill Ice Cream is located in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, and is owned by the Sarawak Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It has been in business for more than five decades. [Photo: Southern Asia-Pacific Division News]

In the vibrant and lively cultural communities of Kuching, Malaysia, lies an iconic ice cream parlor that has stood the test of time for more than five decades. Established in 1967 and known as the “legendary ice cream,” Sunny Hill Ice Cream has become a cherished cornerstone in the heart of the city of Kuching (pop. 402,000). The parlor serves not only scoops of tradition but also a sense of community influence, local Adventist leaders said.

The Sarawak Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church owns the joint, which has grown to be a gathering place for both tourists and locals. It is renowned not only for its delightful treats but also for the genuine warmth and community spirit it radiates, leaders said. Situated adjacent to a school, it has become a spot where parents gather while waiting for their children, indulging in delicious ice cream and engaging in meaningful conversations.

Sunny Hill Ice Cream has successfully opened two shops in Kuching, each making a significant impact on the local community.

A Purpose-Driven Treat

The ice cream parlor, founded with a higher purpose in mind, is more than just a business endeavor; it is a cornerstone of the Adventist Church’s community activities in Kuching. Since its beginnings, the parlor has played an important role in supporting numerous local programs and activities, demonstrating the church’s dedication to making a difference in the community, according to local Adventist leaders. 

Over the years, the ice cream shop has become a beloved gathering place for friends and family, a place where people can unwind, relax, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. The restaurant has evolved into more than just a place to satiate one’s appetite; it is a hub of connection and companionship, church leaders said.

Testimony of Faith and Resilience

Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunny Hill Ice Cream faced temporary closures and reduced operating hours, experiencing a decline in sales. The resilience of the business shone through, however, and it stayed afloat during those tough times. When pandemic restrictions were finally lifted, store manager Clare Kiu made a strategic decision not to open the ice cream shop on Saturday evenings.

“Our foremost commitment extends beyond financial gains; it centers on our people. In challenging moments, the profound connections with loved ones serve as a source of solace and resilience for our employees,” Kiu said. “These cherished moments not only offer comfort but also empower individuals to rejuvenate, fostering a renewed sense of hope for the days ahead.”

Despite initial concerns about potential sales losses during those prime hours, Kiu prioritized the well-being of her team. Recognizing the emotional toll of the pandemic, with many having lost loved ones, she wanted her employees to cherish Saturday evenings with their families. Surprisingly, the decision turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Sunday sales soared, surpassing the expected revenue, and weekly sales witnessed a notable increase compared to the previous period when the restaurant was open on Saturday nights. Kiu said she firmly believes that not only observing the seventh-day Sabbath but also affording her workers the opportunity to enjoy Saturday evenings with their families contributed to the unexpected success and overall positive impact on the business.

“The success of this Center of Influence is based not only on the tasty foods it provides but also on the character it instills in each guest,” local leaders said. “It has come to symbolize the Adventist Church’s dedication to developing lasting ties with the community through acts of service, kindness, and shared experiences.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Edward Rodriguez and Hazel Wanda Ginajil-Gara, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review