Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ice cream

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     from someone who has been there, done that in several small operations.

     Ice cream has intrigued me for longer than I can remember. And my memory goes back more than 75 years.

     Something about all that creamy, cold sweetness calls to me. It's difficult to walk past an ice cream shop--without lingering for a cone. So many flavors, so little time.

     Long ago, businesses large and small discovered the market for ice cream. Brands like Baskin Robbins, Carvel, Rita's, and Dairy Queen became familiar. Franchise operations expanded the market as the original hard ice cream was rounded out with related goodies.

     Today, popular ice cream shops are likely to be single-store affairs. They concentrate on unusual flavors, locally-available ingredients, and other enticements.

     Example: A recently-opened ice cream shop in my area offers several small-batch flavors--all made on the premises. Some of these are cilantro, hot peppers, dark chocolate, kale and pomegranate. It's a small, intimate place, plus tables outside on the tree-lined sidewalk. Customers can get gluten-free cones or waffles, or they take home hand-dipped containers. Clearly, this shop appeals to an up-scale, health-conscious crowd--there's even fat-free and sugar-free selections.

     Example: Another shop recreates the vintage ice cream parlor. It's an inviting place with a long counter and stools. Black and white tiles cover the floor and stainless steel is everywhere. This place offers many flavors of ice cream. But it offers much more. There is a big back room that gets lots of use. Two evenings each week, movies are shown in the big back room. Patrons can schedule private parties on the other evenings. During the day, the room is home to week-long summer camps for kids. They are entertained with games, arts and crafts, ice cream and more while their mothers do other things--mornings, afternoons, or both.

     Example: Still another area ice cream shop has partnered with a local bookshop. The bookshop takes advantage of the ice cream shop's space and schedules author's signings and readings there. Both businesses realize advantages.

     The business of ice cream has come a long way. 

     After college, I went into business. That was 1960. Over the years I have founded, operated and expanded several businesses. These included typesetting, printing, publishing, real estate, antique glass, and establishing the Business Owners Institute in New Jersey. Over a lifetime, I have coached and helped over 2,000 small businesses. Email your questions to and put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. I answer everyone, and I respect your privacy.     



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