When Tushar Patel opened Avondale Ice Cream, an ice cream parlor in Avondale Estates, he joined a trend as old as the country itself. According to icecream.com, the first ice cream parlor in the United States opened in 1776, the year the nation declared its independence.
The frozen dessert is now America’s second favorite treat—only cookies are more popular, the website states. It also notes that Americans eat an average of 5.5 gallons of ice cream each year, making the United States second only to New Zealand in per capita ice cream consumption.
“Everybody young and old loves ice cream,” said Patel, who’s known around the community by his nickname, Lala, which is how he’s identified on his nametag. “People, no matter who they are and where they come from, find ice cream a refreshing treat. It’s a perfect product to sell because it puts a big smile on everyone’s face.”
Avondale Ice Cream is a family business whose owners include Lala Patel’s son Bobby Patel. The Patels said they hope Avondale Ice Cream will be become a popular place for locals to come for a good time. They chose bright interior paint colors and designs to create a party atmosphere. There is a seating area, although a good deal of the business is carry out.
The shop, which opened Sept. 12 and held its grand opening and ribbon cutting Sept. 21, has been doing a brisk business, especially on weekends, according to Lala Patel.
“We really didn’t look around for a location,” he said. “We saw this site and knew it would be perfect.” The Twin Oaks Plaza location, he noted, is working out very well. “It’s a busy area. Lots of people come here to shop or eat at one of the restaurants and they stop by. It’s on the city’s main thoroughfare and there’s lots of parking.”
Avondale Ice Cream features Hershey’s Ice Cream, a premium brand sold in 18 states. “We sampled different ice creams and everybody liked Hershey’s so we decided that’s what we would sell.” Lala Patel said he believes his is the only ice cream shop in the area selling Hershey’s.
According to the Hershey’s Creamery Company website, the company’s uses “pure vanilla extract and the highest quality of cocoa available anywhere. Our fruit flavors are made from hand-picked fresh-frozen fruits.
We use high grades of almonds, pecans and walnuts. We are also one of the few manufacturers that roast nuts in our own plant.” The Hershey Creamery Company has no relationship to the Hershey chocolate company, started the same year, 1894, by a different family with the same last name.
Patel said he lets customers choose which flavors are sold in the shop. “We get a list of flavors that are available and let customers say ‘oh, I like this one or that one’ then we order it and see how well it sells.” He said the shop offers 24 flavors at a time, including a variety of frozen yogurts.
A resident of Tucker, Patel said he has worked for an Avondale Estates company and likes the atmosphere in the city. “People are very friendly. It is a great community for families—for people of all ages. Some people suggested that an ice cream shop would be the perfect business for downtown Avondale so I decided to explore that.”
Patel praised the Avondale Estates city government and business community, saying they were supportive of his venture from the proposal through the opening. “City officials come by to see how we’re doing and to enjoy some ice cream,” he said.
Patel, who said Avondale Ice Cream is his first business venture, noted that he has no immediate plans to open other locations. “But who knows what the future will bring,” he added.
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