Ben and Jerry’s: licking the competition?

Managers of Cone E. Island, an ice creamery in 2000 Penn, said they are concerned they will see a drop in sales as a result of the opening of Ben and Jerry’s Oct. 9 in the basement of the Marvin Center, although business has not dropped yet.

“It just opened a week ago, and we don’t know yet. But, yeah, it will affect us,” said June Esmilla, manager of Cone E. Island. “A lot of students go there and buy ice cream, and it is only a block away.”

Cone E. Island depends mostly on GW students as customers at night. But during the day customers include teachers and local office workers in and around the shopping center.

“There seems to be a fair amount of students, but there are a fair amount of locals also,” said sophomore Tara Hantman, who goes to Cone E. Island for lunch about three days a week.

“I think the people that buy ice cream will go to Ben and Jerry’s because they can buy on points,” Hantman said. Students are only able to use debit dollars at Cone E. Island.

Customers at Cone E. Island can buy a dessert from anywhere from $2.75 for one scoop of ice cream to $4.25 for three scoops. At Ben and Jerry’s, students pay $2.75 for a small scoop of ice cream and $3.99 for more.

Despite the price difference, Hantman said she does not think Cone E. Island will suffer much because the store offers a larger menu than Ben and Jerry’s.

“I would like to eat low fat, and they don’t have low fat at Ben and Jerry’s,” she said.

While Ben and Jerry’s offers the top 20 regional flavors of ice cream, sophomore Jessica Axelrod said, Cone E. Island seems to have a larger menu selection.

“I think they have a wider variety between ice cream, yogurt, muffins and cookies,” she said.

Although Axelrod said she eats at Cone E. Island about two times a week, she does plan to give Ben and Jerry’s a try.

“The lines have been so long so far, and I like soft-serve yogurt better than ice cream,” Axelrod said.

Katie Krug, location manager for Ben and Jerry’s addressed long lines at the new food venue.

“Our goal is to serve food and fun at the same time. I know that the line is pretty long sometimes, but if you just hang in there we’ll get you,” she said.

Krug said Ben and Jerry’s is trying to fight off the stigma of poor service held by most venues at J Street. Pointing to her staff, she said, “They are a lot younger crowd and much more energetic. They look forward to crowds, and they don’t think of them as a drag.”

Krug said GW and Aramark decided to replace Freshen’s because they felt ice cream would sell better than soft-serve yogurt. Ben and Jerry’s now has limited frozen yogurt options, which are not soft-serve.

The cold weather in the coming months will hamper business for both Cone E. Island and Ben and Jerry’s, Krug said.

And the coming months will reveal the effect of new competition for Cone E. Island.

“In two weeks or so we will be able to tell what the impact will be,” Esmilla said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.