July 22, 2020 By Christian Murray
Ample Hills Creamery, the popular ice cream purveyor, is reopening its Astoria store Thursday after its exit from bankruptcy.
The company is reopening two other stores tomorrow—one in Prospect Heights and the other in Chelsea. The openings represent the first steps taken by Schmitt Industries, an Oregon-based company that acquired the bankrupt creamery in June.
The creamery, founded by the husband-and-wife duo of Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, was established in 2010 and quickly grew to operate out of 13 locations. The couple filed for bankruptcy protection in March after experiencing financial difficulties.
The couple left the company following the June sale to Schmitt Industries.
“It is with deep sadness that Brian [Smith] and I have made the painful decision to move on from Ample Hills,” wrote Jackie Cuscuna in a post on company’s Instagram page on July 6.
Ample Hills in now in the process of reopening nine locations—including the three tomorrow– in coming weeks. It will also reopen its Red Hook factory.
The company plans to rehire all 200 employees, a spokesperson for the creamery said.
The 34-02 30th Ave. location will reopen Thursday and will operate between Monday – Thursday from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., Friday – Saturday from 1 p.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
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It is with deep sadness that Brian and I have made the painful decision to move on from Ample Hills. The brand, the scoop shops and the factory will all continue to operate under new ownership. Brian and I @astheicecreamchurns worked very hard to create and build Ample Hills from nothing. We started with a pushcart in Prospect Park in 2010, opening our first shop on Vanderbilt Ave. in 2011. It was never just a business for us. It was always about love, community, collaboration and the most playful, nostalgic flavors of ice cream. As demand and opportunity grew, we decided to expand. The love Brian and I have for this city and the desire to keep the story and the jobs in Brooklyn is what led us to create our 15k square foot factory in Brooklyn. And that is when our financial problems began. While most of our shops were profitable, the factory was not at capacity, took a lot more money to build and more time to become operational. We fought hard to stay out of bankruptcy but ended up having to file in mid-March, the same time our city shutdown due to COVID. And through this time, we fought hard to keep the brand top of mind, churning up new flavors at home, sharing stories and of course speaking with numerous potential buyers who could bring the needed financial and operational support that would allow our beloved company to shine. In the end the company sold for just $1million which mostly went to the bank for the loans given us. Many people, from friends to vendors to the folks who helped build our company, lost a lot of money because of the mistakes we made. And Brian and I lost everything we’d worked for over these last ten years. But even in bankruptcy we had hoped to be a part of the story moving forward, working with the new team to help revive the brand, post COVID. Unfortunately it hasn’t turned out that way. But once we get through this mourning period, Brian and I fully intend to create something special once again. Please follow our continued journey on @astheicecreamchurns. We still have what we started with- the love of each other, the love of story telling, the love of community and of course the love of ice cream.