Category Archives: Customer Spotlight

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl & Joe Baker, Making great Ohio Ice Cream.

Joe Baker and I meet early 1980’s at an Ohio Restaurant Show in Columbus, Oh. Ever since then Joe Baker told me he would someday own Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl. My good friend is the proud owner and legacy of Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl & Hemmer Ice Cream of Zanesville, OH. Below is Joe Baker’s awesome story from Spectrum News.

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl celebrates state honor, tradition

By Dennis Biviano Zanesville UPDATED 2:25 PM ET Aug. 05, 2022 PUBLISHED 9:45 AM ET Aug. 05, 2022

ZANESVILLE, Ohio —  When you have a long family history in the ice cream-making and restaurant industries like Joe Baker, you know where your destiny lies. 

Joe Baker, Proud Owner and Ice Cream Maker at Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl

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Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream opens in Northwest Austin, TX.

George Dunlap, Serving the Ice Cream Retail industry since 1973. I had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Handel, back in the late 70’s, at her shop in Youngstown, OH. She served up some of the greatest naturally flavored ice cream around. Having had the pleasure to serve the on-going Handel’s company, I am not surprised to see them continue to grow throughout the USA. Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream serves great ice creams, try some today.

Popular Creamy Ice Cream Chain Opening in Northwest Austin

This will be the first Austin location of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream by Erin Russell Aug 17, 2022, 10:02am CDT, from EATER Austin

Ice Cream from Handel’s.

Popular Ohio-based ice cream chain Handel’s is opening its first Austin shop in northwest Austin. It will open in the Plaza Volente shopping center at 11521 North Farm to Market Road 620, near Anderson Mill, sometime in October or November.

Handel’s is known for many flavors of ice cream, all of which are made on-site daily. Look for offerings like salty caramel truffle, cotton candy, and Graham Central Station (graham ice cream with a graham cracker ripple and chocolate crunchy bits). Handel’s serves ice cream in scoops and cones, as well as shakes, chocolate-covered pops, and Hurricanes (blended ice creams).

Handel’s opened in 1945 in Youngstown, Ohio, when Alice Handel started serving ice cream out of her husband’s gas station. It has expanded to over 70 stores in 10 states, including stores in the Dallas and Houston areas. Austin shop owner Chad Hughes hopes to open more locations around the city soon.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream Cleveland,OH to Unveil Rotunda Scoop Shop inside Heinen’s Downtown.

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, 18832 Westwood Dr, Strongsville, OH, USA, 44136

Going back to 2002 and earlier, I had the pleasure to serve Mike Mitchell and his team at Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream at their, then, one shop. Today Mitchell’s Ice Cream is one of Cleveland, Ohio’s favorites. Mitchell’s hard work and attention to serving the customer with great tasting and quality designed ice creams are one of their keys to success. The below article is about Mitchell’s teaming with with Heinen’s in their downtown Cleveland, OH store. Good read.

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Kari Seher, founder, of Melt Ice Creams – Customer Spotlight.

Melt Ice Cream Push Cart
Melt Ice Creams Dip Cabinet, BD series by C. Nelson.

During my years at C. Nelson Mfg., Co. I had the pleasure to talk and meet with many great ice cream shop operators across the World. Kari Seher of Melt Ice Creams, was one of the most exciting and driven young ladies I have talked to. If you have time and desire to learn Kari Seher’s story; it is exciting. 4/19/2022

MELT ICE CREAMS – Ice Cream Truck
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Golly G’s: Coffee, Ice Cream, Sweets, the story, by my good friend Joey Boykin

Joey tells the story of his dream and his love of family and community.

I first meet Joey during the spring of 2017, I have had the pleasure to serve Joey and his family as they developed an awesome family branded ice cream retail experience. Golly G’s is an American success story, I have found Joey Boykin’s story to be very helpful in my life and my business activities.

Joey has several shops and a very successful Ice Cream Truck program.


With Social Distancing and the use of masks in today’s food service/ice cream retail shops, a new updated store design is paying dividends for many ice cream shop owners. Walk up/Drive Thru shops are experiencing ice cream sales like never before. We are seeing a hug shift from the inside only shops to the walk-up/drive thru operations. Today the customer is afraid to come in side, if not given comfortable inside options, like spacing at the order counter and seating area, but the ease of drive thru is winning the day at many shops. Many of my clients are seeing 60% or more store sales at the drive thru.

Eric’s Ice Cream Factory, E Second Street Shop,drive-thru & walk-in/carry-out., (2) C Nelson 12diphv Curved Glass cabinets.

This shop designed for high, C. Nelson 12DipHV-Curved Glass Gelato Style scoop cabinets, visibility of over 24 homemade ice cream flavors, homemade ice cream cakes & pies, with easy Entrance and easy Exit of the shop. The drive thru window is in close proximity to the prep area for quick ordering and service. The WalkIn-WalkOut concept allows for maximum display of all ice creams and frozen treats; while the drive-thru allows for maximum, social distancing/customer comfort.

Eric’s Ice Cream Factory operates 5 shop in Northwest Ohio and continues to adapt to the changing COVID19 environment.

Jeni’s, a 2020 Customer Spotlight

By; George Dunlap, 1/29/2020. We at C. Nelson Mfg., Co, have had the pleasure to serve Jeni’s for many years. Her passion for, making wonderful ice creams, providing enhanced personal customer service, and an overall engaging retail experience, is the future of the retail ice cream industry’s competitive focus.

The below article by Simon Mainwaring , at Forbes , tells how the team at Jeni’s is very Purpose Driven and very focused on their customer’s desires.

Purpose At Work: How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its People

Simon Mainwaring Contributor CMO Network I write about how to drive growth for purpose-driven brands.

Companies that put people and purpose first build brand communities and consumer loyalty. In today’s crowded business environment it’s critical to distinguish yourself from the competition. While delivering quality products will always be important, consumers are also looking to support brands that stand for causes they believe in.

How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its People
How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its PeoplePhoto credit Jeni’s Ice Cream

An excellent example of a company building community around shared values is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The Certified B-Corp prioritizes forming relationships with suppliers, team members, local nonprofits and customers. I had the pleasure of speaking with founder Jeni Britton Bauer about how she leads with purpose. Here’s our discussion.

Simon Mainwaring: Let’s start with how you went about creating a special product. 

Jeni Britton Bauer: I quit art school to make ice cream. I was working in art, ice cream and pastry. It was all crossing over for me. Once I figured that out, I had to start a little ice cream shop.

After begging my friends for some cash and buying a few things, the only place I could start up was in a farmer’s market. I was in that farmer’s market with my prototype Jeni’s, which was called Scream. That was 1996 to 2000. Two years later I opened Jeni’s in the same place.

Everything I learned about how to make really good ice cream came from talking to the farmers. I started getting to know them, understanding seasonality, understanding their world, understanding how much they want to get paid for these things. Are they going to sell me strawberries or would they rather go to the farmer’s market and get a better price?

How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its People
How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its PeoplePhoto Credit Jeni’s Ice Cream

Most of the hours at the market weren’t busy. The merchants would encourage each other and hold each other accountable. We became like a family. The idea of community comes from that. A rising tide can lift all ships. We also have to pull others up with us. Standards are really important. Trust is important.

I was in the market making ice cream every day for 10 years. I served it over the counter. I listened to feedback. My standards became merged with what our customers were expecting. Where did it come from? Who made it? How? What’s the story behind this? To this day, that’s who we are. Every initiative we’ve got is directly tied to that time in that market.

Mainwaring: So there’s something about the integrity of that process that led you to create this special product?

Britton Bauer: You slowly build your own world because you learn as you go. It’s a different way of doing it. But people sometimes forget that boots on the ground experience. It’s where you learn everything. It becomes a foundation.

People ask me who my entrepreneur idol is. Willy Wonka. That Willy Wonka style entrepreneurship suits me. Some people go the sort of Stanford grad route. That can be great in its own way too. It’s just not me.

Mainwaring: Tell me the journey to becoming a B Corp. How did that come about?

Britton Bauer: We thought, “We’re already doing that. Let’s just apply and see what happens.” We got B Corp status in 2013.

That was great because some new copycat competitors were coming into the market. We have high integrity. We would never say something is grass pastured if it wasn’t. But people who copy your business model and try to make it look like you may not have that same integrity.

The B Corp status allowed us to put a stamp on it. We went through the audit process to say that we actually are paying a living wage. We actually are buying things directly from people. We’re here to get better at that over time with B Lab’s help and guidance. That is awesome.

We don’t really use B Corp in our marketing. I actually think it takes away from the idea that we’re here for absolute deliciousness. If people want to know what’s behind the brand, the information is there.

How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its People
How Jeni’s Ice Cream Builds An Impactful Culture Around Its PeoplePhoto Credit Jeni’s Ice Cream
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Tamara Keefe’s Naughty & Nice Creamery Aims For the Sweet And Boozy In Artisanal Ice Cream Sector

June 3, 2019, By George Dunlap, A great article on a great lady who really enjoy’s making great tasting ice creams.  C. Nelson and I have had the pleasure to serve Tamara for many years with some really cool looking cabinets for her shops.  We wish Tamara all the best in her quest to offer  .. Boozy Artisan Ice Creams and more….to her customers.

Tamara Keefe’s Naughty & Nice Creamery Aims For the Sweet And Boozy In Artisanal Ice Cream Sector

Tamara Keefe's childhood memories of house-made ice cream led to leaving corporate life for a wholly owned store. Photo: Chris Bauer

Tamara Keefe’s childhood memories of house-made ice cream led to leaving corporate life for a wholly owned store. Photo: Chris Bauer

Tamara Keefe

Is there anything more American about the American Dream than opening your own ice cream shop? Especially when you’ve achieved what you thought was your dream in the corporate world?

That’s how it turned out for Tamara Keefe, 43, who left a job as senior brand manager for Abbott Nutrition’s $70 million Ensure Oncology business to open Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery in St. Louis, Missouri. Now with three units, Keefe has already won several top awards for Best Ice Cream for flavors like Gooey Butter Cake, Salted Crack Caramel and Vegan Chocolate Coconut Fudge.

I interviewed Keefe about her decision to take the leap from the corporate safety net into artisanal ice cream making.

TK: I have been making ice cream my whole life.  When I was a child, ice cream entirely changed my sense of community and, therefore, sense of self. We grew up below the poverty line. After church on Sundays, the other families in our community would meet at the local ice cream parlor. I remember tugging on my mom’s dress, begging her for us to join them for ice cream, not knowing the financial burden a trip to the ice cream parlor would cause our family of seven. I can still feel the sting of loneliness from not being able to join the rest of our community.

Then one day, we stopped at a garage sale (that’s where we got our clothes), and my mom ran across an old hand-crank ice cream maker for $2, and decided it was going home with us. That was the day my life changed forever. We made ice cream together as a family and the sweetest tradition ensued.

Word of our amazing creations spread, and soon enough, rather than going out for ice cream, the church families began to gather at our house, with each family bringing a different ingredient. I went from social zero to hero! My whole sense of community changed, because of ice cream. All of a sudden, I had friends I’d never had before, was invited to parties and became popular. I discovered the power of ice cream and I didn’t even consciously know it.

By 2014 I was running a $70 million business, on the road all the time, commuting back and forth from St. Louis to Columbus, working 60-70-hour weeks, and successfully climbing the corporate ladder. Dream job, big company, big responsibilities, big salary—everything I thought I ever wanted, until I didn’t. Exhausted, unhappy, single, no kids, no family, and rarely seeing my friends, I was miserable. On a much-needed weekend away, one of my closest friends turned to me as I was ugly crying and said I should quit.  Bewildered, I asked, what would I do? My other girlfriend  commented, “You’re always complaining St. Louis doesn’t have great ice cream or  ice cream shops, and you are so happy when making ice cream, no one makes it better than you, so go do it.”

So that weekend, the four of us wrote my business and marketing plan, put together my financials and I resigned two weeks later. I figured, what was the worst thing that could happen? Yes, I could fail, but I was highly employable, and could go back. I had nothing to lose, except my pride and money. The rest is history. In early 2014 I attended “Ice Cream College” at Penn State.

I didn’t really set out to create something new in the market. I set out to create something better. Having worked in the food industry, I knew how large CPGs [Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers] made an inferior product, and how they reformulate to cost cut, confuse and undermine consumers. I knew I didn’t want that. I wanted to do it based on my values, a different way, but a profitable way. I wanted to create a culture and appreciation of makers, bakers and creatives.

I had 20-plus years marketing experience, created and launched new products for CPG big brands, worked closely with sensory science, product development, packaging groups, food chemists, food scientists, spent lots of time in and around food manufacturing facilities, a Six-Sigma Green-belt, and I was acutely aware of food safety … and what it meant and the importance of doing things the right and safe way. It was the perfect storm so to speak. Oh, and I am a trained master taster.

Strict federal standards and controls require small-batch artisanal ice creams to be all natural. Photo: Chris Bauer

Strict federal standards and controls require small-batch artisanal ice creams to be all natural. Photo: Chris Bauer

Tamara Keefe

The Naughty component came to fruition as I was just starting out. A customer asked if I could infuse some rum into a flavor I had. I said it wasn’t possible. He kept after me, and it was seeping into my subconscious all the time, and I started to think, “How can I make this happen?” After all, I had had access to the best food scientists, chemists and product development people in the world. And I was familiar with lots of new and emerging technologies in food and how people were using them in creative ways. I gathered my closest friends and over a few bottles of wine, I started connecting the dots, experimenting until we homed in on some pretty innovative stuff. Once I realized we had something, I knew it was an opportunity and a really good one in a space where there’s been little innovation since the invention of Dippin’ Dots. So, I course- corrected, reassessed and off I went. I named my ice cream after a beloved friend of my grandmother, who was the most sophisticated woman I’d ever known.

Q: Describe what makes your ice creams different from others compared with national brands?

TK: Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery is named around the two types of ice creams we make. Naughty (boozy) and Nice (non-boozy).  We have a trade-secret process for infusing alcohol into ice cream up to 18%. Our ice creams really are boozy. A few companies have tried to hang their hat on creating boozy ice cream, but they use such little amounts it’s not noticeable, or they use liquor flavors, or they cook it all off so it’s a bit misrepresented.

Additionally, we’re one of only a handful of micro-creameries in the country. There are qualifications you have to meet in order to be one. First, it has to be Small Batch  made in a real ice cream machine (batch freezer), not some large continuous mega-robotic machine that pumps thousands of gallons of product through in a few minutes that no one sees, or tastes, or quality checks. I like to say ours is made by real people with love, concern and care for the quality and the taste of the product.

Handcrafted also means that everything in the ice cream has to be hand crafted and made. If there’s a pie, cake or cookie in it, we make it, bake it and see it through. We salt our own caramel and candy our pecans. Or, for some flavors, we collaborate to support another local artisan maker and use their product in it.

All-Natural means the cream needs to be made using no artificial ingredients, and we are the onlyice cream maker in the state of Missouri that is all-natural.

A micro-creamery has to have less than 30% overrun, which is a technical term that describes the air whipped into the ice cream. Large commercial ice cream manufacturers and most local ice cream shops use 100% overrun, meaning that the pint you get at the store is actually only 50% ice cream; the rest is air. Ever had a cone that instantly melted? That’s a great example of 100% overrun. Big commercial brands and most ice cream shops do that to get more volume using less product.

Our ice cream is made with approximately 26-28% overrun, so when you taste our pint of any flavor and compare it to another, ours is heavier and denser.

Butterfat is the component in ice cream that gives it the richness in flavor, the creaminess or smooth texture, the body and the ability not to melt so fast. It coats your tongue and makes the flavor last and gives it that great creamy mouth feel. Additionally, it carries the other flavors in the ice cream so you can enjoy it longer, leaving you with a lingering aftertaste.  But it is very expensive, in contrast to using 10% butterfat, which is what big commercial manufacturers use. All of our ice creams have between 16-18% butterfat, which is why they are so decadent.

Q: Has the corporate take-over of brands like Häagen-Dazs compromised the original product?

TK:  Yes, corporate takeovers and now venture capital firms often do ruin the integrity of the product. They are so guided by making the most profit possible that they tinker with it little by little, and before you know it, a co-packer is making the product and it no longer is what it once was. It is completely different.

As for gelato, 99.995% of all U.S. gelato makers use a premade dry blended bag mix, chock full of artificial colors, flavors, fillers, emulsifiers, etc. It’s made start-to- finish in 25 minutes. Authentic gelato takes a long time and is much more expensive to make. Our ice cream takes three days to make one batch.

For the modern millennial consumer we are targeting, Häagen-Dazs exists as an iconic name with a tremendous marketing and sales legacy; however, in terms of a product that can excite the palate for flavor and mouth feel, it is no longer a benchmark.

Conventional wisdom in the CPG world, in general, and food industry specifically, would dictate that a corporate takeover of a brand like Häagen-Dazs is a good thing.  Size used to be one of the most important factors of success; however, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands have leveled the playing field, allowing smaller brands to reach consumers without needing to fight for limited shelf space or making large investments on their brand. Additionally, the millennial consumer has demanded a new level of transparency for the products that they put in and on their bodies. This transparency has been best met by on-line born or upstart brands that experience fast growth, which consumers view as having a more authentic story or healthier, fresher and more eco-friendly offerings.

For me a pint of ice cream will forever be a volume measure of 16 ounces. In January of 2009, Häagen-Dazs downsized the volume measure of its pint from 16 to 14 ounces, citing rising costs. That’s “customer betrayal” and I will never again buy a “pint” of Häagen-Dazs.

Q: Are there any Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau rules about booze in ice cream?

TK: Yes, as to content by volume, by weight and whether or not it is viewed as a beverage or food. Additionally, it depends if the manufacturer is looking for a drawback, meaning a tax refund on the alcohol purchased.

In the beginning, we sent all of our Naughty ice creams to the TTB for analysis at great expense and time. We worked with their team on our formulation and understanding of what and how the overrun and fat affect the alcohol by weight and volume. We had a liquor license in the beginning because we thought we had to, but ultimately the TTB decided our ice cream was a food and not a beverage, and we did not make shakes in our stores, which by nature changes the form into a beverage. From the start, based on my own values, I chose not to sample or serve anyone under the age of 21. This practice continues in all our stores, even though technically we don’t have to. The silver lining is that it has worked as a great marketing tool as well, because now young adults look forward to sharing their “21st” with us so they can try and indulge in Clementine’s boozy ice cream.

Q: Explain: All of the milk Clementine’s uses is from local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone- and RBST-free cows.

TK: We work with small dairy farmers who choose to raise herds differently than their big commercial counterparts. By using dairy from local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone and RBST-free cows you’re starting with the purest, most unadulterated, best tasting, non-altered, fresh dairy you can imagine. As a result, our base dairy is so much cleaner, richer, creamier. Its healthier, tastes better, it benefits the cows, and our environment.

Q:  How did you round up investment? Are you wholly privately owned?

TK: I am completely self-funded and solely owned by me. I’ve invested almost 500k to date from my personal savings, cashed out my 401k, and continue to grow from profits. As we look more to capitalize on our momentum and take advantage of the market opportunity, we will be considering smart outside investment that can help take us to the next level in becoming a national brand.

Marketing skills and access to food scientists eased the way to open Clementine's. Photo: Chris Bauer

Marketing skills and access to food scientists eased the way to open Clementine’s. Photo: Chris Bauer

Tamara Keefe

Q:  Is the market for new ice creams in America limitless?  What are your current overall U.S. sales?

TK: In America, there is never a barrier for an excellent product that delivers on its promise. Ice cream is a $14 billion market. But overall consumption in the U.S. is declining. On the flip side, the craft segment keeps growing.  I believe consumers are reveling in all the newcomers and their inventive market niches. Their entry into the market have stimulated growth, motivated excellence and differentiation, and better products are being produced, especially in niche markets like vegan, low-carb and micro-creamery, which are taking market share fast from the big brands.

As long as the artisan ice cream business continues to deliver to customers what they crave—the flavors, ingredients and experiences underrepresented in the hyper consolidated ice cream market—then there is no limit to its growth.

Keefe has plans to expand slowly but thinks she can maintain quality on a national scale.  Photo: Chris Bauer

Keefe has plans to expand slowly but thinks she can maintain quality on a national scale.  Photo: Chris Bauer

Tamara Keefe

I opened my first shop in May 2015, second in July of 2017, and my third this month in May 2019, with our fourth coming along in July. Our sales are around $2 million to date. My initial goal is to do $10 million in revenue from 12 shops, and an entry into grocery channel within five years, with the ultimate goal of $50 million, 50 shops, grocery and online expansion in 10 years.  That is, unless another opportunity comes our way that is better than I have charted for us now.

Q:  But won’t expansion nationally compromise what is now a small artisanal company?

TK: For us, no; we will be better than we are now. At the moment, we have different expansion plans and have seen one other artisanal ice cream maker on the West Coast whom we respect a lot expand the way we are planning to. Their values mirror ours. They are choosing to expand mindfully and authentically. The end result will be a national presence without compromising the best parts of being small.  I can’t wait to see how high is “high”!

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Cedar Crest Ice Cream keeps it old school | 2018-02-01 | Dairy Foods

Another great customer of C. Nelson Mfg., Co. ice cream dip cabinets.

Cedar Crest Ice Cream keeps it old school The family-owned company prides itself on its small-batch ice cream making, premium quality and variety of flavors. prev next February 1, 2018 Sarah M. Kennedy KEYWORDS ice cream news / ice cream processor / ice cream products Reprints 0 24 One Comment The four brothers who make up the ownership of Cedar Crest Ice Cream — Ken, Robert, Bill and Tim Kohlwey — all agree that their company may not be the biggest….


Source: Cedar Crest Ice Cream keeps it old school | 2018-02-01 | Dairy Foods