Cold Stone Creamery prepares for grand opening celebration

By Ashley Poynter

For those students who’ve had trouble satiating their cravings for ice cream, there will soon be 1,556 square feet of the “ultimate ice cream experience.”

At least this is how Cold Stone Creamery, a new shop that will open on Green Street, refers to itself. Cold Stone Creamery bases this claim on three characteristics: the quality of the ice cream, the number of options customers can create, and the environment and entertainment.

Cold Stone Creamery is slated to open in early April. It will be located at 505 E. Green St., east of Starbucks.

With franchises like Noodles & Co. and Chipotle opening in recent months, Eric Bussell, future owner of the Champaign Cold Stone, said he’s happy about the location of his store.

“I’m very eager to move in next to good brands – great brands,” Bussell said.

Bussell said he decided to open his own Cold Stone after hearing friends and co-workers rave about the creamery in Peoria, Ill. He tried it last October and was impressed.

“I really couldn’t believe that everyone was standing in line with smiles on their faces,” he said.

Cold Stone is known for its Cold Stone Creations, which allow customers to specify exactly how they want their ice cream, including mix-ins and toppings. All creations are prepared on a frozen stone, hence the name.

Bussell said Cold Stone Creamery is focused on fundraising, which is why 50 percent of the profits from the grand opening will go to a non-profit organization that has not been selected yet.

As the grand opening approaches, Bussell said he will soon be looking for employees.

“I think this campus offers some of the best students to hire,” he said.

Cold Stone hires its employees by holding auditions. Applicants perform both individual and group songs. The auditions will be held March 4.

Wayne Williams, junior in Business, said he usually patronizes Serendipity twice per week in the winter and about four times per week in the summer. Williams said he had never heard of Cold Stone but finds Serendipity convenient because it is in the Union. He also appreciates the ice cream selection.

“I like Serendipity because it’s really hard to find New York Cherry ice cream,” he said, sipping on his New York Cherry milkshake.

Linda Lau, owner of Serendipity, said she is not worried about the added competition.

She said it’s a possibility that some of her business might be lost to Cold Stone when it first opens because people will want to try it but she is sure her customers will return.

“We have the same quality ice cream for half the price so they will come back,” she said.

Only time will tell where ice cream lovers will choose to indulge but Bussell is anticipating the success of his Cold Stone Creamery on Green Street.

“People love it and my job is to put smiles on people’s faces,” he said. “Students, above anyone else, need a vacation from time to time and we offer that.”