The First Scoop
Sandy worked in ice cream shops in high school and when a charming space near our home became available, we decided to open a store. While I had been in the restaurant business, neither of us knew how to even make ice cream. After some Googling, I found and attended Ice Cream University—it’s actually a thing—to learn how to make the best ice cream.
Food Allergy Allies
We have three young daughters who thankfully don’t have food allergies but our nephew is allergic to nuts and we realized that many of our girls’ classmates had food allergies. We wanted our shop to be a safe place where everyone we knew could enjoy an ice cream cone.
As we explored factories to make our ice cream, we found that they all had at least one allergen we were committed to avoiding. We decided to build our own factory from the ground up to offer the safest products possible. We started with an empty 5,000-square-foot space and purchased every piece of equipment brand new. Despite knowing all of our machinery and our space are and always have been dedicated free of peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), eggs and sesame, we still do allergen testing once a month. Every employee is fully trained on allergies and we do not allow them to bring the allergens we are free of or fish, shellfish or mustard into the factory, even in the break room. Every ingredient vendor provides us with a letter stating that their facility is 100% free of those allergens too. We even bake our own cookies for our Cooks flavor in-house.
We didn’t stop at creating safe ice cream—we created fun flavors including Pink Sprinkle, Partly Cloudy, Cooks and Speed Bump. Online, all of our flavors are available by the pint or in cups and we make chocolate-dipped bars in Speed Bump, Wired, Partly Cloudy and Vanilla. We carry at least 12 rotating flavors in the shop. Other ways we amp up the fun in the shop: we have mini cones and spoons that change color when you use them in the ice cream and we offer free in-store events, magic shows and Friday night movie nights, safe popcorn included. We also have music classes and are available for private parties and events.
The Sweet Spot
Besides offering safe ice cream, we also have a strict policy against allowing outside food—even drinks like coffee that could contain almond milk must be left outside. We have a “bible” that lists every ingredient in our ice cream, cones, and toppings. Additionally, all our ice creams are free of food dye and are all natural with the exception of the flavoring in Partly Cloudy.
The Cherry on Top
After we opened, a customer posted a picture of our store sign in a Facebook allergy group and shared that we were nut-free. The post went viral overnight and we realized we were filling a huge need in the allergy community. We didn’t even realize at the time what a unique haven we had created.
How to Bring the Shop Home?
Our online store ships our pints, cups and bars nationwide. To bring the fun of the shop experience home, we even found a way to add our color-changing spoons to the lids of the pints we distribute. We are the only ice cream sold on Walmart.com that is shipped directly to your home. It’s exciting to see that they recognize the need for allergy-friendly ice cream! Yes, we can even ship ice cream in the summer with dry ice and it arrives within two days.
What about dairy allergies?
We recently launched an oat-based dairy-free ice cream available in our shop that we want to eventually sell online. We even make our own oat milk to ensure it meets our allergen requirements. Partly Cloudy and Pink Sprinkle are so good in the oat milk base! We have a separate dip well and scoops for the dairy-free ice cream. We make non-dairy ice cream on a different day than our dairy-based ice cream as well. We also offer sorbets in the shop that are free of dairy.
How about gluten-free?
None of our flavors contain gluten except Cooks, which contains baked cookies. We take precautions in our factory to prevent cross contamination by cleaning all the lines thoroughly between runs and making Cooks on a different day from our other flavors. We also carry gluten-free cones in our shop.
Our vanilla cups and pints do not contain soy derivatives.
The FDA considers coconut to be a tree nut and we have always been dedicated free of it. We even hand-dip our chocolate-dipped ice cream bars to avoid using coconut oil.
The Latest Attraction
We are going to be the official ice cream of Legoland New York as of next year! It will be available at the Legoland opening in Goshen, NY and eventually other locations. There will be A La Mode carts serving soft serve ice cream throughout the park.
A Second Scoop
We are looking into opening more locations and we’ve had a lot of interest in franchises. We are thrilled to announce that we will be launching an A La Mode Franchise Program! For anyone interested in learning more, please email us at [email protected]
We’ve seen how much it means to allergy parents when their child can pick anything they want all the way to the toppings. We had a young woman come in for her 21st birthday and it was her first time eating in an ice cream shop. We feel like we are becoming a part of people’s childhoods and lives.
Sandy: Speed Bump because it’s like a meal and sometimes I like having Wired for breakfast instead of coffee!
Marc: Cooks, no question.
Girls: Our oldest, Meica, loves the Sea Salt Caramel flavor that is at our shop. Remy’s favorite flavor is Pink Sprinkle and Sasha always has to have Partly Cloudy, Pink Sprinkle and Cooks together.
All the Ice Cream Grocery Stores
We are also sold at grocery stores but we know that’s not always a consistent experience—if it were up to us, we’d be on every shelf in every store! If you want A La Mode to be carried at your local grocery store, please fill out this form and bring it to the store manager.