The warm weather that encompassed the Central Valley with temperatures in the 90s earlier this month may have people thinking about ways to cool off. Cold Stone Creamery may have just what you are looking for with a variety of ice cream flavors that are made fresh in store with a vast array of toppings to choose from to create a custom frosty treat.
The Creamery in the Crossroads Shopping Center has had quite the renovation since late June of last year, including new owners, Gina and Tim Wylie, new inventory and over a dozen ice cream flavors to choose from. The ice cream shop is now offering custom ice cream cakes for all occasions as well.
The Wylie’s own another business that is completely different than the ice cream franchise they now run and the idea that began with a question at a baseball game came to fruition on June 29, 2016. The venture turned into a family affair with daughter Jesika working at Cold Stone when she was a high school student and now being the crew leader as well as their two sons that occasionally work at the local shop.
“The timing seemed right and I said maybe it is meant to be in our family since it was Jesika’s first job in high school,” stated Gina. “Jesika already knows the basics of the business by working it. I thought this is a good opportunity for us to own something really family.”
The store was only closed for two days after the Wylie’s took over and July 1, 2016 was their official first day open for business. Some employees that worked for the previous owner continued working for the Wylies. They had a shipment arrive on June 29 and a ton of ice cream was produced that day in preparation for their very first day.
“There was barely any ice cream in this store when we took it over,” said Gina. “On the 30th we hired cleaning people to give the store an overhaul because it had just been neglected for so long. I am not going to say it (opening day) was smooth because we were learning but the community was so welcoming. They were so good to us.”
After being open for six weeks they held a grand opening which included several festivities like face painting and live music. In September the store was vandalized which was a huge blow for the new owners and led Gina to vent on the Riverbank Crossroads and Adjacent Facebook page, estimating damage to be approximately $1200 and describing how disappointing it was.
Gina explained that a kind person in the community posted that the store did not deserve this terrible treatment and encouraged everyone to stop by on a Monday and purchase an ice cream to show their support.
“It was so disheartening to me because we had been working so hard to improve our store,” added Gina, but said that the post brought in business and support.
“We were typically doing about $600 on a Monday and we did $1200 on that Monday,” she explained. “So every time little things like this happen I become reinvested.”
Now, they are looking forward to their second full summer season in the Crossroads. There is a loyalty card that they offer their customers where after 10 ice creams purchased they will receive a free one on the next visit. Customers can sign up for the E-Club at www.coldstonecreamery.com to receive special offers for the local store selected.
“I really want the community to know we are not just a grab and go ice cream,” stated Gina. “We have amazing cakes. I just recently hired a custom cake decorator.”
All employees have the ability to make all the signature cakes in house and now they offer custom decorations for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or any occasion, including the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday. They offer chocolate, red velvet, or yellow cake and customers can choose the ice cream and mixes or a signature flavor like cookies and creamery, strawberry passion, chocolate chipper, and peanut butter playground made fresh in store.
“So they are all made in store and now we can have our custom cake decorator do the decorating which we could not do before,” expressed Gina. “I am really excited about that.”
Keeping with the Cold Stone tradition the Riverbank location is all about entertaining the customers by singing songs and of course mixing the frosty treats on the cold stone slab in which the business got its name.
“We are the original entertaining store,” said Gina. “We took our store back to like the basics.”
Gina has a background in customer service and expressed that customer service is about making sure that customers know how important they are and making sure they feel heard. She encourages all customers to visit the store and for those that haven’t been back since the previous owners to come back and see the changes they have made.
“Honestly I am so excited to see what summer will bring,” stated Gina. “We want to end up being friends with everybody and the ice cream is amazing.”