Ben and Jerry's founders celebrate new indoor seating area at NH location
MEREDITH — A special event celebrating the opening of a brand new indoor seating area at the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Shop in Mill Falls Marketplace featured live music, face painting, ice cream samples and most importantly, an appearance by Ben and Jerry's founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield!
It was all hugs, not handshakes, as the famous Vermont ice cream duo took pictures with fans and signed t-shirts, while a crowd of nearly a hundred people packed the courtyard snacking on various flavors of ice cream.
Jayne Cohen, owner of the Ben and Jerry's Meredith location, said that for the past 26 years their ice cream shop was only take-out, but the timing was right to expand.
"There have been a couple of times the tenant behind us has moved out, but it just wasn't the right time, or we didn't have the money to do it," Cohen said. "But this time when the tenant moved out behind us, we were like, we're going to take some of the space."
Cohen said the space they expanded into is an L shape that wrapped around their shop, which helped during the renovation process.
"So we just took the L and put a door in," she said. Before the indoor seating, Cohen said the shop's operating season was usually from Free Cone Day, which is in early April, until Columbus Day, unless it was an abnormally warm fall.
"Now we're going to stay through January 1st," Cohen said. "We're going to give it a try this winter, and we hope it works because we'd like to continue to do that."
Founder Jerry Greenfield said he was thrilled with the new addition to the shop and that he was equally thrilled to be there to celebrate.
"Anywhere I can sit I'm really happy, especially if I've got an ice cream dish to eat from while I'm sitting," Ben Cohen, who founded the ice cream company with Jerry in 1978, said about the new seating area.
"I just went to the doctor actually, and he said I should sit more," Ben joked.
When asked about his favorite flavor, Ben told NH1 News with no hesitation that Cherry Garcia took the cake, or in this case ice cream.
"My favorite flavor is Americone Dream," Jerry said. "It's vanilla with caramel and fudge-covered pieces of waffle cones."
Jayne Cohen said all the shops and boutiques in the Mill Falls Marketplace help each other out and that it's a great place to own a business.
"All the shops here shared this event with their Facebook fans and helped us promote it," she said.
Also present at the event were some of the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Shop's community partners, including the Humane Society, Interlakes Community Caregivers and Altrusa.
"We work with them on an ongoing basis to raise money for their organizations," Cohen explained. "For instance, we sell a 'Doggy Delight,' which is a small scoop of vanilla ice cream with a dog bone, and we give 50% of our sales of 'Doggy Delights" to the Humane Society."
Cohen said other community programs included customers being able to donate a dollar to Interlakes Community Caregivers on Free Cone Day to receive an extra scoop of ice cream.