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March 28, 2013

East Asia: Sweet Beginnings

One couple hopes to have a positive impact on their community by starting an ice cream shop in a town nestled among the mountains in Asia.

  • International Flavors

    Adam plans to make ice cream that incorporates Asian flavors such as green tea and red beans along with American classics such as vanilla and chocolate.

As communication across the globe gets easier thanks to the internet, 24-hour TV news channels, and increased travel access to remote parts of the world, people in Asia have a growing fascination for all things Western.

American-style coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, and specialty stores such as ice cream shops open every day along busy streets in the big cities. Now that trend is also spreading to small towns nestled among the mountains.

One couple, living in a large city at the foot of the mountains, was looking for a small business idea and noticed the growing popularity of American-style shops. Adam and Jamie* weren’t sure what kind of business to launch until they realized they could use their love of the culinary arts to start an ice cream shop. Like most Westerners, ice cream was a family favorite for dessert and special occasions, but they had a hard time finding quality ice cream at the shops in their neighborhood. So Adam started making the sweet treat at home, and soon discovered he had a talent for it.

Taking their passion for ice cream and turning it into a successful business won’t be easy, but Adam and Jamie are taking it seriously. Adam recently completed the Ice Cream Short Course at Penn State University, a world-famous educational program that teaches the science and technology of ice cream. Adam plans to incorporate Asian flavors such as green tea and red beans into some of the ice cream flavors for the shop, as well as serve American classic flavors such as chocolate and vanilla. A key ingredient in all of the ice cream will be Yak milk, rather than cow’s milk, as it is more readily available in the area, and the Yak is an integral part of local culture.

After talking to a few local businesses, Adam and Jamie have partnered with a coffee shop in town that will sell ice cream at their shop. If that is successful, Adam and Jamie hope to open a separate ice cream shop, affiliated with the coffee shop, in a smaller town located 13,000 feet up in the mountains. The town was devastated by a recent natural disaster and is in the process of re-building most of its homes and businesses. Adam and Jamie hope that their ice cream shop can be part of the revitalization of the area and have a positive impact on the community.

-Written by Lisa H. Renninger

*not their real names