Jan.12, 2023 By Christian Murray
Ample Hills Creamery, the popular ice cream purveyor, has shut down all 12 of its stores—including its two in Queens.
The creamery, known for churning out innovative and story-themed ice creams, initially said that it was closing the stores on a temporary basis—between Dec. 19 and Dec. 25—due to a lack of capital.
The stores, however, remain closed, including the Long Island City and Astoria locations, and it isn’t clear whether the closures are permanent.
Schmitt Industries, an Oregon-based company that owns the stores, released a statement Dec. 19 abruptly announcing that it would be shutting down its operations for at least a week.
“This action is required while the company seeks the additional investment capital required for it to continue operations,” the company said in a statement. “There is no assurance that additional capital will be obtained, and if the company cannot raise sufficient capital, it will be required to shut down operations indefinitely.”
The scoop shop had been operating 12 locations across the country – with six in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, one in New Jersey and one in California.
The December announcement came just three months after the company opened a store in Long Island City at 5-36 50th Ave. — in a building situated across the street from the 108th Police Precinct building.
An Ample Hills spokesperson said at the time that the company was eager to expand its footprint into Long Island City.
“It is a thriving neighborhood with great schools and businesses,” the spokesperson said. “We really want to be a part of that community fabric and we are excited to be bringing our ice cream to Long Island City.”
The Long Island City scoop shop represented its second Queens store following on from its Astoria location at 34-02 30th Ave. that opened in 2018.
On Wednesday, the Astoria location was closed during normal business hours. The store was empty with unopened mail strewn across the floor.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Patch reported that a note demanding $113,000 in back rent had been slapped on the front door of its Park Slope location.
This is the second time the popular company has faced fiscal woes.
The creamery, which was founded by the husband-and-wife duo of Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna in Brooklyn in 2011, ran into financial difficulties and filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2020.
Schmitt Industries acquired the bankrupt creamery in June 2020. The couple left following the sale.
Ample Hills has built a reputation for its zany flavors and locally sourced ingredients.
The ice cream purveyor has a large following in both Queens and New York City.
Some of its popular offerings include the “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake,” which is a creamy vanilla ice cream mixed with chewy butter cake pieces, and the “PB’s Fluff & Fold,” which is a fluffy marshmallow ice cream mixed with dark chocolate chunks and peanut butter swirls.
Ample Hills also offers its own neighborhood-exclusive flavors.
Its Astoria location, for instance, has offered the “Nectar of the Queens” in recognition of the neighborhood’s Greek population. It is a smooth honey cinnamon ice cream mixed with the classic Greek pastries of baklava and galaktoboureko.
The Long Island City location also has its own in-house flavor inspired by the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign situated on the Hunters Point waterfront.
The future of the stores, however, looks bleak, and the company has not provided any indication as to whether it has found new capital. Schmitt Industries and Ample Hills did not respond for comment.
Michael Dorgan contributed to this story.