Amy's Ice Creams
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Amy's Ice Creams is a privately owned chain of ice cream shops in Texas with headquarters in Austin. The Austin Chronicle described Amy's as a "quintessentially Austin institution" which "dominates the local ice cream scene." Amy's ice cream is owned by Amy Simmons. The readers of the Austin Chronicle have voted Amy's the best Reader's Ice Cream 8 years in a row.
Known colloquially as Amy's, Amy's Ice Creams was started by Amy Simmons in 1984. While in Boston, as a premedical major at Tufts University, Amy worked for Steve's Ice Cream. After Steve's Ice Cream was purchased by a larger corporation, Amy decided to go into business for herself. Amy and her business partner Scott Shaw eventually decided to open their ice cream shop in Austin. They wrote a hot check for the lease of their first store on Guadalupe Street in Austin. Amy has since opened thirteen more locations, with the majority of them in Austin, one in Houston, and one in San Antonio.
In 2009, owner Amy Simmons stated that she does not intend to rapidly expand the chain.
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Amy's offers over 300 flavors of ice cream and fruit ices, a non-dairy alternative similar to sorbet. Of this large number of flavors, only a small portion are available at a particular store at any given time. Amy's ice cream production facility located in Austin makes all the flavors each month for Amy's shops.
Every Amy's location always offers seven flavors, known as standards, sold in three sizes. Amy's offers sugar and cake cones for free; waffle cones cost extra but can accommodate any size of ice cream. For the larger two sizes of ice cream, the company's version of mix-ins called "Crush'ns" can be added.
Unlike some ice cream stores, such as Cold Stone Creamery or Marble Slab, Amy's does not use a cold stone for a mixing board. Like Steve's Ice Cream, the boards are room temperature and, per company claims, bring out the flavors in the different ice creams during the mixing process due to warming up the ice cream.
Amy's application process strives to create a unique and creative group of people to serve and manage each location.
The paper application is a white paper bag. The only requirements are to write a name and contact information somewhere on the application. Applicants are encouraged to be creative and applications have included decorated bags, short stories, and videos placed in the bag. The bag does not have to remain intact; some applications have included only portions of the bag, puppets made from the bag, or the remains of a bag (ashes). The end product does not need to resemble the original bag.
Many employees of Amy's will do "tricks" with the ice cream as they prepare it and before the customer receives it. These tricks include, but are not limited to, throwing ice cream scoops under the leg, behind the back, and over people. Some locations are known for throwing ice cream across the street, where either the recipient or another employee will attempt to catch it.
Every year, at different locations, Amy's hosts a contest called the Trick Olympics, in which employees who are especially skilled in the art of tricks compete against one another. Typically there are three different subsets of the competition: Decathlon, where employees do ten different tricks as fast as they can; Best Team Trick, where pairs of employees work together to complete a multi-level trick; and Best Solo Trick, where individual employees try to outdo each other with complicated tricks.
These contests are open to the public, but ice cream is usually not given away. Tricksters use balls of Sweet Cream with either no Crush'n or only chocolate sprinkles.
- "Dear Amy." Amy's Ice Creams. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- "Second Helpings." Austin Chronicle. June 25, 2004. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- Pope, Colin. "Amy Simmons." Austin Business Journal. Friday October 30, 2009. 1. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- "Austin Chronicle - Amy's Ice Creams - Restaurant Guide". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
- "The Flavors". Amy's Ice Creams. Archived from the original on 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2006-06-28.
- Free Fun in Austin: Amy's Ice Creams 8th Annual Trick Olympics