Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream loves its birthday. The company opened its first store 20 years ago last Sunday, Oct. 6, and for the last couple of years it’s been rolling out both a birthday cake ice cream and birthday cake sundae—made with a piece of actual cake, produced in-house in their Ohio City facility, for the entire month of October.
This year was no exception. As the company closed in on the end of its twentieth year, its representatives spread out across the city giving out scoops and even advertised the throwback special, single scoops sold for the original 1999 price of $1.65 on WKYC Channel 3 Sunday morning news.
The ad campaign for Mitchell’s birthday, combined with its already omnipresent popularity, made for a hectic day. “We were super busy at all of our shops pretty much all day, more in the evening though,” Gioia Hunt, assistant manager at Mitchell’s Uptown Shop said.
In anticipation of the expected crowd, the Uptown location added an extra three scoopers to its line, jumping from a standard Sunday five-person staff to an eight-person team, explained Hunt. But even with the 60 percent staff increase, they struggled to make a dent in the long lines the birthday deal drew. “We should have had probably 10 people,” Hunt reflects.
Hunt said she was only at the Uptown location till the afternoon, when crowds filled the tables but left the line somewhat manageable. But by 8:45 p.m., the line had snaked out the door and across the walkway, encroaching on the entrance to Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Yet for the most part, eager ice cream seekers were willing to stick out the line. When asked why he was standing in the rain waiting to buy a scoop of ice cream, third-year student Joey Recchia had a very straightforward explanation: “Mitchell’s makes the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.”
Others were drawn in by the allure of simply participating in the celebration of Mitchell’s birthday, including fourth-year Anna Ashley. “I love celebrating birthdays, and who had been there for me more than anyone? Mitchell’s.” she said. “So I had to be a part of the birthday celebration.”
As a general policy, Mitchell’s does not provide its sales information, but according to Mitchell’s spokeswoman Hailey Hanahan, the company sold over 16,000 single scoops across its 10 locations on Oct. 6.
Hanahan also described how the price of ice cream has increased from $1.65 a scoop to today’s $3.95, explaining that “in an effort to create a quality product, many of our ingredients are organic, fair trade and/or sourced from small Northeast Ohio farms.”
Despite the price, the rain and the lines, Mitchell’s remains incredibly popular, and as its 20th birthday fades to the past, it seems like the best option now is to just mark the calendar for Oct. 6, 2029 to see what they’ll come up with for the big 3-0.