Chelmsford, Massachusetts, United States
In 1973, my parents decided I needed to find a career. My dad bought an out-of-business ice cream shop in Lowell, Massachusetts, my mother had it painted pink, they named it Gary’s Ice Cream and gave it to me saying “now you have a real job”. And, what a “sweet” job it has been.
At Gary’s Ice Cream, we have 25 employees and make all our own ice cream, hot fudge sauce and fountain syrups. In the fall and spring, we also make homemade candies including a high quality cream and butter fudge. Our shop is open from Valentine’s Day through mid-fall.
Our ice cream is so good because it is so fresh. We use a 10-gallon Emery Thompson batch freezer and are able to turn out a batch of ice cream every 10 minutes, 60 gallons per hour, 400 gallons in an 8-hour day. Many times the ice cream we are serving was made just a day or two before it is eaten. I like to tell customers our ice cream is so fresh because it was in the cow two days ago!
Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to operate an old-fashioned ice cream and candy shop.
• How to manufacture ice cream on a retail level.
• How to balance your personal and professional life when you own your own business.
• How to find good employees and good ingredients.
• How NOT to keep your books on a scrap piece of paper!
In high school I had two part-time jobs – working for the local radio station and serving ice cream at a road-side ice cream stand. When I left high school, I decided to become a priest, but I soon realized that was not for me and began pursuing a career in radio. But my dad thought playing records wasn’t a real career. It was then my parents launched me into the ice cream shop business.
Although the ice cream business wasn’t my first career choice, it turned out to be the right choice. Gary’s Ice Cream has earned a reputation for the quality and freshness of its ice cream and the more than forty flavors from which to choose. I only use ingredients that meet my high standards and specifications. It is a matter of quality control and knowing exactly what is in everything I serve. Plus, making your own products is more profitable than buying manufactured products.
Because we are a small company and work out of a small (600 square foot) building, we don't have a lot of storage space. So, we have to make ice cream every day… and every day I get to watch people enjoy our products.