Monday, January 17, 2011

Cold Stone Creamery = Fancy Ice Cream?

I'm not sure what his go-to ice cream is, but Dow Jones newswriter Al Lewis sure threw me a curveball when it turned out the "fancy" ice cream he describes in a recent article was actually Cold Stone Creamery.  By "fancy," does he mean "expensive"?  Or "overpriced"?  Or maybe "gross"?  According to Lewis' article, Cold Stone's sales grew over 20% from 2005 to 2007, but then plunged over 11% in 2008.  The president of Cold Stone, Dan Beem, onto a bus, and hit 16 cities in an effort to figure out how to keep the franchises profitable in a dismal economy.  A few of the solutions they've hit on:

"Next month, Cold Stone is rolling out warm treats to counter the cold weather: brownies, churros and funnel cakes. Come Spring, it will add yogurt to compete with the frozen-yogurt craze that Pinkberry has re-ignited."
The "Cheesecake Fantasy" Signature Creation from Cold Stone Creamery

It's not clear whether or not any of those execs tasted the ice cream.  If so, they might have figured out why sales are dropping.

Incidentally, Cold Stone, which bills itself as "the ultimate ice cream experience," was the subject of a recent nightmare had by a friend of mine.   After he awoke sweaty and trembling (ok, I made that part up), he wrote me to say: As in real life, it's a cavernous nightmare of overpriced ice cream -- people mashing ghastly things like cookie dough and tomatoes into boysenberry sherbert, that sort of thing. Dream-Me was so revolted by the whole spectacle that I just stole as much cookie dough as I could and then got kicked out of the shop.

I shared my own experience with Cold Stone, whose ice cream I found to be heavy, too sweet and pretty tasteless:

The last (and only) time I went to Coldstone Creamery was in 2003 when I was an intern at Vogue.  It had just opened, and CN had just moved to Times Square, and all the girls were talking about incessantly.  I suggested to the other interns that we go after work one day, a suggestion greeted with open horror because (I had forgotten) never would any of them have permitted something so caloric within two hundred feet of their starved, sad little bodies.  I convinced one reasonable colleague to accompany me, at least, and I ordered some abomination that, since you mentioned it, probably included cookie dough.  I did not steal it.  I do remember it being overpriced.

The worst part about this whole excursion was that, unlike your dream, it really happened.

Anyone out there have a Cold Stone experience, real or imagined, delicious or dreadful, to share?

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