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Robin Garr

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Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:06 am

"Some of our recent hiccups coupled with the recent limited recall though has caused us to reconsider our commissary strategy," Comfy Cow co-owner Tim Koons-McGee tells us, referring to persistent product shortages that caused consumer irritation followed by a more recent recall of some contaminated product from the grocery-store supply.

"It's been increasingly difficult for us to keep up with grocery store demand and still provide an adequate supply to our Scoop Shops," Koons-McGee said. "Consequently we have decided to go with a co-packer who will produce our ice creams for us using our recipes. They've been in business since '62 and produce for some of the top super premium brands in the country."

Accordingly, they're selling their Technogel Artisanal Ice Cream/Gelato manufacturing system at auction, with bidding open September 26-28. Details here:
http://harrydavis.com/AuctionDetails.asp?id=321

This does not mean that the popular ice cream shops are closing. "We're still in business and hope to be for a very long time," Koons-McGee said.

cow-closeout1.jpg
Comfy Cow closeout at Kroger.
cow-closeout1.jpg (408.99 KiB) Viewed 1279 times
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by MarieP » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:28 am

So it is true...one company produces ice cream for a bunch of others...

Best ice cream ever is made by the tractor guys at the Fair
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by RonnieD » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:50 pm

I hope the company they outsource to can replicate what they have been doing accurately. It has not been my experience that is as easy as it sounds, especially when you use a manufacturer that works on a much larger scale than you are used to. But I totally understand the challenges of the commissary system as well, so can't really fault them for giving this a go. At least they are being transparent about it.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:39 pm

I didn't hear this from Tim, but word on the street is that they've made a production deal with The Chocolate Shoppe, an outfit in western North Carolina that probably does not qualify as "large." I guess only time will tell.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Christina Hall » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:17 pm

I went to the one on Westport today and they were still very short on flavors. My husband likes vanilla :P and they didn't even have that. I was a bit disappointed. On the other hand, they had some sort of ice cream pop type thing that is called dulche de leche. The guy behind the counter did confirm it was made using the old dulche de leche ice cream!
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by James Natsis » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:40 pm

Comfy Cow used to be very special. Their ice cream had such potent flavors. The last two times I went I wasn't impressed. I don't get it. Why open so many stores and sell it through so many vendors? Now it just becomes another ice cream.

And contracting production to a manufacturer out of the area (read state)?...I just don't get it.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Mark R. » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:14 pm

James Natsis wrote:Comfy Cow used to be very special. Their ice cream had such potent flavors. The last two times I went I wasn't impressed. I don't get it. Why open so many stores and sell it through so many vendors? Now it just becomes another ice cream.

And contracting production to a manufacturer out of the area (read state)?...I just don't get it.

That's pretty much what I was thinking while reading the article. I would rather have had them stay small and keep control of the production process instead of trying to grow too fast and run into problems like they are now. If you said they are just going to end up becoming another ice cream next to everything else on the shelves.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Carla G » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:28 am

I seriously don't think great ice cream like CC originally was can be mass produced. Maybe that's why wonderful, intriguing anything will always be special and dime-a-dozen, available anytime anywhere things will always be mundane. Like a copy of a copy of a copy things get dumbed down and loose their focus.
Time for serious ice cream lovers to start looking for a new contender.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Christina Hall » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:15 pm

I don't know...
The ice cream we picked up the other day is amazing! I'm really loving the Malt Shop flavor, and John's very impressed with their Cookies and Cream. I wouldn't count them out just yet!
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Robin Garr

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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Robin Garr » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:49 pm

I liked the Malt Shop a lot, too.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by James Natsis » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:33 pm

Christina Hall wrote:I don't know...
The ice cream we picked up the other day is amazing! I'm really loving the Malt Shop flavor, and John's very impressed with their Cookies and Cream. I wouldn't count them out just yet!


I wouldn't count them out. And I'm sure they will still have enjoyable ice cream choices. However, the local, grassroots relationship with the community is being compromised. Its simply not as special in more ways than one.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Robin Garr » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:56 pm

James Natsis wrote:I wouldn't count them out. And I'm sure they will still have enjoyable ice cream choices. However, the local, grassroots relationship with the community is being compromised. Its simply not as special in more ways than one.

It adds another data point to the very long-running forum rumination on what happens when a wonderful small local shop gets greedy and starts doing the things it has to do to grow into a c-c-c-hain. :(
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Carla G » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:25 pm

Please don't get me wrong, I love their ice cream and won't count them out until I don't like it anymore. Neither am I opposed to anyone trying to make an honest buck. Good for them! I just miss home made ice cream and their's was so darn close.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by RonnieD » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:39 pm

Robin Garr wrote:It adds another data point to the very long-running forum rumination on what happens when a wonderful small local shop gets greedy and starts doing the things it has to do to grow into a c-c-c-hain. :(


It's not always and only greed, Robin. When J. Gumbo's expanded (first) it was because we were told "you've got something really special here" and we were beyond capacity at the little spot on Frankfort Ave. We were also getting a lot of "gee I would come here more often if I lived in the area, you should really open one in X neighborhood." So while the dreams of big $$$ were nice, our decision to expand came down to meeting demand and spreading the love as much as big bucks. Of course, it promptly went to poop after that, but the getting rich part was not the sole motivator for the decision.

But I'll say this, the product is the heart and soul of what you do. Decor is nice, location is key, and service is paramount, but if you have a lackluster product, none of those things will save you. So they need to be very careful and hound dog the quality of whatever comes out of a third party manufacturer.
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Re: Comfy Cow exiting commissary biz, outsourcing production

by Robin Garr » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:07 am

Okay, Ronnie, that's fair. It's often greed - or at least the very human desire to make big bucks - but I think we could restate it as "economic issues" and be in the ballpark 99 percent of the time.
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