Re: The Shocking Meltdown of Ample Hills — Brooklyn’s Hottest Ice Cream Company

Dwayne Harris   ·   About 360 words

From a very interesting (and very long) article from Courtney Rubin about the decline of Ample Hills, a really good ice cream shop that has a location here in Astoria:

But on March 15, the day before New York City shut down for the pandemic — and as signage bearing Ample Hills’ farm animal mascots and the words “ice cream coming soon” was still up at a second Disney location — everything came crashing down. Ample Hills filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just short of the company’s 10th anniversary. It had nothing to do with the pandemic: Even as annual sales had grown, reaching nearly $10.7 million at their peak, so had the losses. Over 2018 and 2019, the company lost about $13 million. In June 2020, Ample Hills sold for just $1 million to perhaps the unlikeliest of buyers — Schmitt, an Oregon manufacturing company that makes laser scanners and sensors for propane tanks.

I didn’t know things went down like this. Sounds like a complete mess:

According to employees, Smith and Cuscuna would fall in love with the story they could tell about a location and sign a lease without due diligence. For example, they liked Prospect Park West because 100 years earlier it had been an ice cream shop; plus their original location was a cart in Prospect Park. Meanwhile, the rent was roughly $220,000 a year, with a projected $500,000 buildout. “There was no true P&L done on anything,” says Chuck Green, the former vice president of sales at Ben & Jerry’s who helped negotiate its sale to Unilever in 2000. (Green lasted just a few months at Ample Hills in 2018 as COO before being fired by Smith, and has since been rehired by Schmitt.)

Picture of the Astoria Ample Hills location from across the intersection.
I used to go to this one every once in a while back when it was normal to go to places to eat ice cream.
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