08/02/10 — Workin' it: Ice cream, with spirit

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Workin' it: Ice cream, with spirit

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 2, 2010 2:03 PM

The Job: Ice cream shop employee

The Company: Cold Stone Creamery

The Location: Goldsboro

Standing behind the counter at Cold Stone Creamery I was about to make my debut as an employee when my mind blanked.

"Would you like to try one of our new flavors: Peach, key lime or, um....purple?"

"Purple's not a flavor, Laura," said owner Masood Yousaf, who was supervising me.

Luckily the customers knew exactly what they wanted and I didn't have to further explain the "purple-flavored" ice cream.

I decided I needed a little more training before I dealt with any more customers, so assistant manager Suk Seeley taught me their trick for scooping ice cream. It's not as easy as you'd think because Cold Stone doesn't use traditional ice cream scoops, they use spades, which look like metal spatulas. And the spades are only the beginning of their strange system at Cold Stone. Rather than measuring servings by scoops or cups or the traditional small, medium and large, their serving sizes are "Like It, Love It or Gotta Have It."

Being an outsider who is not familiar with the Cold Stone language, I had no idea how much ice cream corresponded with each size, so Ms. Seeley walked me through what employees do regularly. On a daily basis, each employee is required to scoop out and weigh the ice cream servings, they do it three times for each size to make sure when they are serving a customer, they are giving the right amount.

She handed me the spades and told me to "do the motorcycle."

"Is that a dance?" I asked.

"No, it's how you need to hold the spade handles, like you would hold onto a motorcycle," Ms. Seeley said.

So I held the spades almost horizontal with the spoons overlapping. I scraped across the top of the Sweet Cream ice cream like I'd seen Ms. Seeley do, but instead of making a round scoop of ice cream, it just pushed the ice cream to the other side of the container. I tried a few more times and never quite conquered the motorcycle technique, although I did produce some round-ish scoops of ice cream.

After practicing the scoops, I moved on to making ice cream cupcakes. The cupcakes are one of the most unique items at the creamery. Rather than being paper or foil, the cupcake holder is a hard chocolate shell. From there, chocolate, vanilla or red velvet cake is layered into the cup and topped with ice cream instead of icing. While filling the chocolate cups with cubes of cake, one of the shells broke. I looked around to see if anyone noticed.

"Muscle woman pushed too hard and broke the shell," Ms. Seeley announced, which cleared up my questioned about anyone one noticing.

Soon after I was taken off the cupcake-making job and paired with manager Kim Saylor to make strawberry ice cream. It was amazing to me what a quick process it was. Sweet cream is used as the base of almost every type of ice cream, then flavor is added and the mixture is put in the ice cream machine. After only nine minutes, the liquid mixture transformed into fluffy ice cream.

Making all of the store's ice cream and the ice cream cupcakes is only a portion of what the employees do on a daily basis. They also make the waffles cones, cakes, pies and cookies in the store, all in between serving ice cream to customers. Although it's obviously a lot of multi-tasking, it was easy to see why it was all worth it. The employees at Cold Stone are happy and excited and greet everyone when they come in and the customers are happy to be there.

"The best part about this job is the people, the customers, it's great seeing little kids' faces light up," Ms. Saylor said.