Creations from a cold stone

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Like it, love it, gotta&8217; have it

&8212; ice cream.

Albert Leans are lining up for handmade ice cream creations with flavors such as Coffee Lovers Only, Strawberry Banana Rendezvous and Birthday Cake Remix at one of Trail&8217;s Travel Center&8217;s newest additions, Cold Stone Creamery.

The ice cream shop on the edge of town started serving up its frozen treats on Aug. 30.

&8220;A lot of people don&8217;t know who we are,&8221; said Angie Troutman, manager of Cold Stone Creamery and Pizza Hut Express at Trail&8217;s. &8220;After I explain it and they try it, they like it.&8221;

Cold Stone is not your average ice cream shop.

&8220;There&8217;s actually banana in the banana ice cream. And there&8217;s actually cake mix in the the cake batter ice cream,&8221; Troutman said.

The basic ice cream flavors are mixed daily in the back of the store. At the front end, creations are made by adding ingredients to the ice creams and mixing it all together with a pair of ice cream spades on the 5-degree frozen granite stone while customers watch.

&8220;Our wrists do get tired after a while,&8221; Troutman said.

Some of the most popular creations in Albert Lea are the Cheesecake Fantasy, Coffee Lovers Only and Germanchokolatekake. Troutman said many customers say they&8217;ve never seen or tasted anything like it before.

The atmosphere is as unique as the shop&8217;s blends of creations, smoothies and shakes.

When change chings or cash slides into the tip jar, the staff breaks into song. Often they&8217;ll change the words to well known songs such as &8220;Zippety-do-da&8221; and make it all about ice cream, Troutman said.

&8220;My philosophy is, if you can&8217;t sing good, sing loud,&8221; she said.

The ice cream creation team will also entertain a crowd by flipping bottles of syrup or even juggling.

Since Cold Stone Creamery places emphasis on creating a fun, entertaining experience, crew members are auditioned instead of interviewed, according to their Web site.

Cold Stone Creamery was started in 1988 by Donald and Susan Sutherland in Tempe, Ariz. By 2003, there were 800 Cold Stone shops and in 2004 they added cakes to their menu. The cakes currently are not available at the Albert Lea location, but there are plans to add them.

There are now more than 2,000 Cold Stone Creamery locations in the United States, Japan and Korea.