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HomeBusinessRebuilding After Losing $40M Ice Cream Business: Couple's Inspiring Journey

Rebuilding After Losing $40M Ice Cream Business: Couple’s Inspiring Journey


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Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, co-founders of Ample Hills Creamery, experienced a rollercoaster journey in building their ice cream business. Starting with a push cart in 2010, they eventually opened their first scoop shop in Brooklyn in 2011. Ample Hills grew rapidly, with a valuation of $40 million and multiple retail locations, but costly business decisions led to financial difficulties and bankruptcy. However, a year later, they opened a new ice cream shop called The Social and partnered with investors to reacquire the Ample Hills brand. Their goal now is to nurture both The Social and Ample Hills and focus on building the brand again.

The couple’s journey began when Brian Smith, a Syfy screenwriter, started making ice cream for his family and friends. Encouraged by his wife Jackie Cuscuna, they launched an ice cream push cart, followed by a brick-and-mortar scoop shop. The popularity of their unique ice cream flavors attracted attention from celebrities and led to opportunities like opening a shop at Walt Disney World. However, their expansion plans, which included building an oversized factory, led to operational and financial challenges. They overspent on custom containers and faced issues with their equipment, resulting in wasted product.

After filing for bankruptcy and experiencing personal financial difficulties, the couple rebounded by opening The Social and partnering with investors to reacquire the Ample Hills brand. They have shifted their strategy, focusing on profitability and enlisting a board member as the CEO. With a renewed focus on building the brand and improving operations, their goal is to carefully grow the business and ensure its success.

In December 2022, Schmitt Industries, the company that bought Ample Hills Creamery, shut down shops and put the brand back on the auction block. Smith, Cuscuna, and their investors won the bid to reclaim the brand and leases of four shop locations for $150,000. They are now focused on nurturing both The Social and Ample Hills into flourishing businesses, with each shop proving profitable. The couple plans to approach growth slowly, concentrating on refining operations and building the brand’s reputation.

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