Discover Austin: Amy's Ice Creams - Episode 59

Amy's Ice Creams is a textbook example of a homegrown Austin success story so I loved the opportunity to visit for this episode - and, of course, to eat some ice cream! Visit us on one of our social media pages for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Amy's Ice Creams.

Greetings! I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Central Texans love ice cream. So we’re going to spend some time at a local favorite, Amy’s Ice Creams, on this episode of Discover Austin.

Amy’s Ice Creams is an iconic Austin business that is well known for delicious ice cream. But there’s more to the story of this wonderful company. Amy’s Ice Creams was founded in 1984 by Amy Simmons. After previously working at an ice cream shop in Massachusetts, Amy decided to open her own in Austin. Of course, Amy’s ice creams are made locally. It all starts with the cream which is a special blend developed personally by Amy after attending ice cream school (and, yes, there is such a thing). From this base all of the ice creams are made – and with no artificial flavors or colors added. The cream and other ingredients are mixed together in the ice cream maker. When it reaches the right consistency, the ice cream is dispensed into four-gallon containers. While not completely frozen, it tastes just like it will when its finished – phenomenal.

“Right out of the machine. You can’t get any fresher than that!”

If the given flavor has any cookies or candies, they are mixed in by hand at this stage. In this case, Oreo cookies pieces are the final step in the Oreo ice cream. The completed batch is then frozen to the final firmness that is scooped at the store. If you’re a person who happens to have a birthday, you should know that Amy’s ice cream cakes taste wonderful and are made in their Austin kitchen. In fact, almost everything Amy’s sells is made right here including cupcakes, brownies, decorated cookies, pies, and more. The only ingredients that aren’t made by Amy’s are items like sprinkles, candies, Oreos, and the like.

"Amy’s Ice Creams top three selling flavors, in order, are Mexican Vanilla, Belgian Chocolate, and Sweet Cream. They’re on the menu every day, at every store along with four other favorites. Now, there are seven to nine other flavors that rotate through on a daily basis. You see, they come from a pool of over 350 flavors of ice cream. That’s right, Amy’s has over 350 flavors so if you came in every day and tried a new flavor, it would be about a year before you made it through the whole menu. If you came in once a week and tried a new flavor it would be seven years before you tasted every flavor."

The folks who serve up the ice cream in the stores are known as ‘Scoops.’ And some of them are very talented at scooping. In fact, Amy’s holds an annual Scoop Olympics to find out just who are the best Scoops. Don’t be surprised if your ice cream gets tossed around a bit before making it to your cup.

One of the least known factors about Amy’s Ice Creams is how well they treat their employees and how much loyalty their employees have to the company. All employees are required to understand the basics of not only business finance, but personal finance. They take classes to teach them how to read a P&L statement and a balance sheet. They learn how to forecast sales and predict labor expenses. All employees have a huddle meeting once a week in which they jointly determine the sales and expense projections for that week. And when you consider that 2/3 of their labor force is between the ages of 16 and 21, that’s quite an accomplishment that folks so young are making real business decisions. In fact, there many former Amy’s employees who have gone on to open their own very successful businesses across a whole range of industries – a great testament to what they learned at Amy’s.

Amy’s Ice Creams truly is a homegrown Austin success story. So I invite you to go visit one of their stores located throughout Central Texas and discover your favorite flavor. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin.

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