Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Florida Man ‘Determined to Have BMW One Way or Another’ Tries to Buy Car With Food Stamps

Florida Man ‘Determined to Have BMW One Way or Another’ Tries to Buy Car With Food Stamps

A 36-year-old Florida man raided the auto dealership where his offer to pay for a BMW with food stamps was denied

Semmick Photo / Shutterstock.com

Police tracked down Jackson to the intersection where he ran out of gas, and did not have the money to fill his tank.

A man in Florida was turned away at a car dealership when he tried to pay for a $60,000 BMW using his credit card and his electronic benefits card, the state-regulated method for distributing food stamps.

Managers at the Pompano Beach dealership “declined 36-year-old Nicholas Jackson’s business,” but Jackson wasn’t ready to give up his dream car. A day after the failed transaction, Jackson returned to steal the BMW along with keys to 60 other cars, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday morning, March 18, deputies located the BMW and the stolen keys after responding to a call about a suspicious person.

“They also found Nicholas Jackson, the man who appeared determined to have that BMW one way or another,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “It turns out, Jackson stole the car and the 60-sets of keys, but he didn’t have the money to fill the tank, and he ran out of gas” at the intersection where he was found.

Jackson has been charged with grand theft auto and his bond has been set at $20,000.


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


The original ice cream diaries

Hello again. It’s ice cream Jim, stopping in with another batch of the Ice Cream Diaries. The pace has definitely picked up since my last visit. As is usual in these paaats, we’ve gone right from winter into summer. Luckily, I heeded my folks’ advice and started hiring and training those new scoopers back in April. I’m happy to report they’ve seen some heavy scooping action these past few weekends. Word of homemade ice cream seems to be traveling through the area, and business has been very good. Even had my first lines the past few weekends. It’s pretty cool to see the shop full of people, a scene I could only imagine just a few months ago when I was babbling incoherently to myself in an empty tin ceiling’ed room while watching the snow flying outside. As much as New Englanders do like to eat their ice cream year-round, most still save their ice cream consumption for t-shirt weather.

It’s pouring outside right now, my dipping cabinet is all restocked from last night’s monthly defrost, the week’s candy order is in, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, so let’s get started…

Had the official ribbon cutting ceremony a few weeks ago. Perfect warm and sunny day for it. Great crowd. An appearance by Mayor Mike. No circusclown, and the scissors the Chamber people brought for the actual cutting were just the regular kind and not the Edward Scissorhand-like variety as I’d hoped, but aside from that, it went very well. A lot of my new local business-owner acquaintances stopped by to wish me well and to grab a slice of the giant ice cream cake with the cool Mt. Tom’s logo (nice job on that Mom). Having it on a Friday afternoon, although it was better for the local officials and chamber, made it tough for y’all to make it. Was cool to have the folks here for it. And I have to thank one of my biggest supporters, Christina, for sneaking out of work early and making the trip. I really appreciate it.

A guy came in last week and asked if he could buy a bunch of ‘free scoop’ coupons (I call them ‘Scoop Coups’, sounded cool at the time) to give away at his booth during the annual Big Rig Show held here in Easthampton this time every year. A big field gets filled with Big Rigs that kiddos get to climb all over. I’m guessing there’s a lot of tired arms at the end of that day from kids making that ‘honk your horn’ gesture. Anyway, I said ok to Mr. Bill the trucker, and off he went to Kinko’s with a sheet of Scoop Coups. I came into the shop that following Sunday morning and was greeted at the front door by a large gang of hungry truck-climbers waving coupons. I got 53 of those coupons in the first day. Turns out he printed and handed out 250 of them, making him one of the most popular trucks at the show, monster tires be darned. For me, it turned out to be a great marketing tool, another good intro to the town.

Good news, the pond in the backyard is now full of trout. They stocked it up for the annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby held last weekend. The banks were lined with mini-fisherman all morning. Didn’t see too many buckets full of fish larger than bait, and I know my Dad is hoping they left a few in there for him, but it looked like a fun little event and got that Saturday off to a strong start here in the shop. The next event on the pond is the model powerboat races. Rumor has it that’s quite a spectacle, although not as quiet as the fishing-kids.

The Curves open house went very well, thanks for asking. We scooped and shuttled 105 scoops of sugar-free ice cream up to the Curves gym 200 yards to the East. The ladies loved the sugar-free, especially because it’s also low carb at 4 net carbs per scoop. (not that I really understand the whole net carbcalculation thing) That Atkins Diet, I’m all in with that. (trying out the new lingo I learned from my 25 year old neighbors)

I’ve been in full guerilla marketing mode this past month. Doing everything I can but put my business card on urinals. My marketing mantra is ‘just gotta get ‘em in here once’. How’s that for ice cream making self-confidence? Done some regular print ads, along with a couple more risky ones like the local Williston Summer Theater program as well as Smith College’s Theater bulletin. The Smith one is cool because I’m paying in ‘trade’ by supplying candy bags (with the Mt. Tom’s gold address label of course) to sell in their concession stand during intermission. All good stuff, but without a doubt the best advertising, besides word-of-mouth and that ‘Journey leads to ice cream shop’ article back in December, was my first TV appearance. Yes, it’s true. One of my customers, as luck would have it, is also a producer over at Channel 22 News in Springfield. Way back in the winter, he’d mentioned the idea of doing a news story about homemade ice cream coming to Easthampton, but he just couldn’t drum up enough interest back at the studio. Again, it’s all about t-shirt weather. So when the warm weather arrived recently (and the dairy prices craziness), he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He came over one Saturday with a digital hand-held and interviewed me on-camera and filmed me making a batch of ice cream. It aired during the 5 o’clock news that following Monday. It was a bit surreal to see myself on the small screen. A bit like back in the early days of answering machines, when you heard your own voice for the first time. That’s what I look like? As strange as it was, it’s been great for new business. Got a bunch of new customers out of it. And again I resisted the temptation to say/use my favorite line about my old career not calling me anymore.

I’ve been offering free ice cream making lessons for the past couple months. That has turned into a fun little routine (with the loud exception of one group of 9 year old Cub Scouts) and been a great way to bring new people into the shop. Same with the kids birthday parties. I’m up to a couple tours and a birthday party a week now. Cub scouts, girl scouts, home-schoolers, I don’t discriminate. Spreading ice cream making to the masses. Or something like that. One of my favorite lines came from a little girl in today’s Girl Scout tour while I was explaining that, in addition to making ice cream all day, I live just upstairs. She quickly responded, ‘can you adopt me?’ And the best part about the ice cream lessons now, cool ice cream factory tour hats. Check out the new pics in the photo album on www.mttoms.com

Well, with the new summer shop hours of 11 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, and 10 pm on the weekends, you’re probably thinking I had to say goodbye to any kind of social life. That’s assuming you thought I actually had one before the ‘season’ started. I’m happy to report that although my days are longer now, I am able to unwind with a cold one or two with my new and cool neighbors. Seems now that the nights are warm, Chandler and Ross, and occasionally Rachel and Phoebe, (ok, the names have been changed to protect them from paparazzi) enjoy sitting in the back parking lot, drinking a couple Miller High Life’s and talking about life, relationships, the Sox, and the way things used to be when they were younger (than their current age of 25). Good people. Feels a bit like college again, guess those are the kind of neighbors that come with a low budget two bedroom apartment ‘downtown’. We have a community gas grill, each of us brought out a plant or 2 for the back stoop/party area, and with the pond just beyond our cars, it’s turned into a (parking) lot o’ fun. Except for the time when Chandler’s buddy ‘buster’ came over on his bmx. His black t-shirt said it all…‘Pissing off the World, One person at a time.’ Twenty-two and already burned through most of his brain and liver cells. Funny and entertaining with a touch of sad.

Speaking of funny and entertaining, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about Root Beer Rudy, and I don’t want him to overstay his welcome here at the IC Diaries, but he just keeps making news. It seems that R. B. Rudy had a little run-in with Betty a few weeks ago. She caught him swiping a handful of pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin seed jar. So the next time he came in, she confronted him about it, and he confessed to the crime. She threatened to ban him from the shop (or course I would never let that happen, a few pumpkin seeds is such a small price to pay for a colorful character such as he is). I hadn’t seen him since until I bumped into him on the street last week. Sporting a new jet black hairstyle (to suit his goth-rock lifestyle) and an old skateboard, he explained the reason he hadn’t been coming around wasn’t because he was scared off by Betty’s iron scooping arm or that he was in root beer rehab orjuvey. It was simply because, ‘I ain’t got no money man.’ I’m thinking about changing my ‘Jimmies Fund’ (contributing the Jimmies proceeds to my favorite charity, Big Brother Big Sister), to the ‘Rudy Fund’. Or maybe I’ll organize a ‘Relay for Rudy’ or sell ‘Root Beer Rudy for Mayor’ t-shirts…

A new Spanish restaurant., Mi Casa, just opened up a couple doors up the street from me. Great news on many levels, the two most important being more after-dinner business, and second but not least, tasty burritos less that 100 yards from ice cream kitchen door to takeout window. Excellante! One of the owners is addicted to my chocolate milkshakes, perhaps a little bartering may be in order.

I was driving by the ‘Big E’, our local supermarket, the other night and I saw Mike the owner (not to be confused with Mayor Mike, it’s a small town but not that small) pushing one of those pushcart street cleaners around his parking lot. Eight months ago, such a scene would have been completely insignificant to me. But I now have learned that sweeping a big parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night is just one of those things that comes with owning your own business. I can’t say that mopping my floor at 10 pm last night was fun exactly, but there still is something cool about it. Just part of the whole package of owning your own business. Of course, ask me again in a few months.

Well, that’s the gist of this past month’s goings-on. The next chapter, among the usual rantings, will include the grand opening festival for the new rail trail. I’ve rented a concession tent for the day, my first ‘mobile ice cream’ experiment. Also, the town fireworks on June 26 th should be big. I’m told 20,000 people go to them (fyi, the population of Easthampton is 16,000). People are saying good things, and the weekends have been very busy in here, so life is good. The new employees are working out very well so far. Allison, Tricia, and Liz are all great scoopers and hard workers (Betty who?) and seem very good with customers. Planning to add one more next week then see if that’s a big enough crew to take me through the season.

Until next time, let me leave you with a quote from that great last episode of Frasier…

“While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we feel. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

Thanks for listening, enjoy the long weekend,


Watch the video: Florida Man (January 2022).