The wait is over for local ice cream lovers. Ben & Jerry’s Ponte Vedra Ice Cream Shop at Nocatee held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Franchise owners Steven Chubbuck and wife Jessica Shaw conducted the festivities with some help from some local cheerleaders, pageant winners and the Ben & Jerry’s cow.
In addition, since the event followed National Voter Registration Day, Chubbuck reached out to local political party representatives to participate by registering voters. The Ponte Vedra Democratic Club accepted the invitation, and club members were on hand to assist prospective voters.
The new store, at 295 Pine Lake Drive, Suite C101, features the ice cream flavors that Ben & Jerry’s fans want. The top-selling flavors last year were Half Baked, Cherry Garcia, The Tonight Dough and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Those who suspect Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is superior to many other brands are correct. In keeping with industry standards, it is categorized as “super-premium,” which means it has a higher butterfat content and has less air whipped into it. No preservatives, chemical stabilizers or artificial ingredients are used.
In addition, the brand uses premium-quality extracts and fruits, nutmeats, chocolates, liqueurs, cookies and candies. The only sweetener used is pure cane sugar.
When partnering with suppliers and distributors, the brand supports fair trade labor practices, ethical treatment of cattle, reduced CO2 emissions and more.
Between 7% and 10% of profits from the brand supports the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which encourages philanthropy and social and environmental justice.
Chubbuck, too, is always looking for ways to invest in the community.
Though the public perception of Ben & Jerry’s is often derived from the foundation’s predominantly progressive set of core values, Chubbuck’s focus is on local needs.
“My own social mission is to build the community, the entire community,” he said. He pointed out that he is an active firefighter and the son of police officers.
Even as the new store prepared to open its doors, Chubbuck was raising funds for local causes. He bought T-shirts to be sold as a fundraiser by the Palm Valley Academy cheerleading squad. In turn the cheerleaders took part in the grand opening, at which further donations were accepted.
The new Ben & Jerry’s shop is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For further information, go to benjerry.com/nocatee.
For a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream-making process, go to benjerry.com/flavors/how-we-make-ice-cream.