Local Couple Builds "Cool" Business
David Hommel and Carmen Garcia-Hommel
Carmen and David are a married couple who own a creamery in Lancaster. David has a broad background in business and when coming up with their ice cream business, decided to take an eco-friendly approach. The creamery opened in December of 2008 and is located on North Prince Street in Lancaster. The ice cream is all natural and made from local ingredients. Even other products, such as spoons and cups, are environmentally friendly. Something else that makes this shop so unique is the mission of the owners. They want the creamery to be a place for local people to come in, meet new people, socialize, and have a good time.
WHO ARE CARMEN AND DAVID?
David Hommel and Carmen Garcia-Hommel are a husband and wife team from Lancaster who met through a mutual friend. Together, they opened and own Carmen and David’s Creamery. While at many other businesses the owners may do a lot of the behind the scenes work and are never actually seen by the customers, David spends most of his time at the creamery, greeting customers with a smile. Along with co-owning the creamery, Carmen is also an occupational therapist at Rivera Physical Therapy in Lancaster. The couple lives just a few minutes away from the creamery, making it an easy walk to work. Their son, Max, is also very involved in running the creamery.
HOW THE BUSINESS GOT STARTED
David is originally from New Jersey. He attended Lafayette College to study Engineering. He also has a lot of experience in business. He has about 35 years of management experience, mostly in the manufacturing sector, but also had an eight year stint in sales. He has owned his own business before and has also been an executive officer for two companies. David has always had a passion for food and ice cream. He and his wife decided to work on opening a creamery that was eco-friendly. The construction of the creamery began in March 2008, and it opened in December 2008.
WHY GO GREEN?
Decision to Go Green
When opening their business, Carmen and David had a decision to make: Do we want to make our creamery eco-friendly? The personal choice that they decided to make was yes, to go green. Living green was something that they did at home, so it just carried over into their business. They wanted to reduce petroleum products and waste. In making their decision, they looked at all of the different options. They decided that they did not want to go the cheapest route…
Pros and Cons
…And going green is not the cheapest route. Many people have a hard time going green because it does tend to be pretty expensive. David says that this decision may not be the best from a fiscal standpoint. They may be losing money because going green is expensive. However, this is how Carmen and David have chosen to run their business and they are happy with their decision. They have also gotten positive feedback for their green initiatives.
GREEN INITIATIVES AT THE CREAMERY!
All Natural Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Sherbet
At Carmen and David’s, all of the ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet is all natural and made from fresh, local ingredients. This helps them to know what exactly is going into the products that they are making. It also keeps them connected with the community.
Biodegradable Paper Products
In the creamery, all of the paper products (i.e. cups, napkins, bowls, etc…) are made from biodegradable materials and/or post-consumer waste. Post-consumer waste is the garbage that is normally thrown out or littered. The brand that they use for the cups is called “Greenware”. Greenware is made from plants, is certified compostable, and is 100% natural and renewable resource based. The spoons are made from a combination of potato and sugar cane, so they are able to break down as well. The only thing at the creamery that is not environmentally friendly is the sample spoons; but they do not go to waste. The creamery donates the sample spoons to local elementary schools so that the children can use them for art projects. Some of the artwork that has been created from the spoons is on display in the creamery.
All the way down to the Toilet Paper?
Yes, at Carmen and David’s, even the toilet paper in the bathrooms is eco-friendly!
Carmen and David’s is part of the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network and is a partner of Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Lancaster County. The Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network is a non-profit network of local bottom-line business and social entrepreneurs committed to building a local living economy- an economy that sustains itself, the community, and a healthy environment. They improve the quality of life in the region by purchasing from each other when possible, mentoring one another, and collaborating to benefit the common good. David says he enjoys the times that the SSBN gets together. In the summer, the creamery is a favorite place for them to hold meetings. Buy Fresh Buy Local is a program that recognizes businesses that use fresh, local ingredients. These businesses are marked with signs that are placed in the stores to show that they support local producers and feature local foods.
How many Formulas?
David has come up with 187 formulas of ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet. However, he has not made all of them just yet. Of the 187 formulas, David has actually physically made about 159 of them. These flavors are rotated daily. There are about 30 delicious flavors available in the cabinet each day. All of the formulas are made on the premises of the creamery.
Flavors at the Creamery
There are so many flavors at the creamery and they change everyday! Here’s the name of just some of David’s formulas to tease your tastebuds…
Toasted Coconut - Licorice - Vanilla - Mango Sorbet - Chocolate Triple Threat - Strawberry - Dark Chocolate - Fudge Ripple - Molasses - Lime Sherbet - Snickerdoodle - Chocolate Chip - Maple Walnut - Pumpkin Whoopie Pie - Heath Bar Crunch - Cookies and Cream - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Mint Chocolate Chip - Butter Pecan - Coffee Toffee Crunch - Caramel Apple - Fluff ‘R Nutter - Peanut Butter Captain Crunch - Aztec “Hot” Chocolate
Hot Ice Cream?
David loves hot food; hot as in spicy. Something that guests may never expect from a creamery is spicy ice cream; but Carmen and David’s has it. David has created a number of spicy ice creams using a variety of chili peppers, such as “Aztec Hot Chocolate”, which tastes like a creamy delicious chocolate ice cream at first, but then tastes very spicy, as it is made with hot chilies. David says that he tries to keep a hot flavor in the case at all times. The customer feedback is very positive towards this phenomenon. People will call into the store just to find out what hot flavor is in the case that day.
The Owners’ gotta have a favorite!
Of course if you own a creamery, you probably enjoy the perks of getting to eat all the ice cream you want! So what flavors do the owners enjoy? David says that he and Carmen both love the “molasses” flavor. David also thoroughly enjoys the “hot” flavors that he has created. Their granddaughters Olivia and Amelia even have the perks too! Each of them has their favorite ice cream flavor named after them.
Carmen and David’s Creamery does not just serve ice cream and other similar products. They also serve various beverages. These beverages are also from local businesses and are eco-friendly and organic. They sell organic, fair trade Ethiopian Yergicheff coffee roasted by Whiff Roasters in Lititz. The creamery also serves soda from Kutztown Soda Works in a variety of flavors. At Carmen and David's, ice cream can become quite a creation. There is a lot more to do with your ice cream than just scoops in a bowl. They offer milkshakes that can be made from any flavor of ice cream. They also can make almost any sundae that an ice cream lover could dream of! With warm, fudgy brownies, and toppings such as peanut butter, strawberry, pineapple, chocolate, caramel, sprinkles, marshmallow, peanuts, wet walnuts, and even captain crunch cereal, the possibilities are endless!
INSIDE THE CREAMERY
When walking down Prince Street in Lancaster, it is hard to miss Carmen and David’s Creamery. The outside is decorated with pictures of ice cream cones line the sides of the building. When walking in, the shop is splashed with the creamery’s signature colors of bright green and orange. Family is important to the Hommels as one can tell from the pictures of family that decorate the walls of the shop. The beautiful wooden tables are decorated with pictures that the Hommels’ granddaughters have drawn. The creamery has artwork of all kinds on display in the shop. There are couches with pillows that are very inviting to sit on. A fake fireplace sets a cozy scene in the back of the creamery. Whether you are there with family, friends, or that special someone, Carmen and David's is a great place to sit, relax, and have a good time while enjoying a tasty treat.
As fantastic as the products at Carmen and David's are, one may expect them to be reasonably pricey. However, that is not the case. You can get a filling three-scoop sampler for just about three dollars and a hearty six-scoop sampler for just under four dollars. A milkshake is only four dollars. An ice cream sundae consisting of two scoops of ice cream, one topping, whipped cream, and a cherry is just $4.50. You can also get a pint of ice cream for $4.50 and a quart of ice cream for $6.75. These prices compared to some other popular ice cream shops are pretty reasonable.
CARMEN AND DAVID’S MISSION
Making it Local
Lancaster is a very close-knit community that involves many nighttime activities and events to keep the residents connected. Carmen and David also think that it is very important to stay connected with the local community. They purchase most of their products from local manufacturers. This reduces their carbon footprint because there is less distance for products to be delivered. A carbon footprint is the total amount of gases that are harmful to the environment that a company gives off in the process of making their products. The Hommels also want the people of Lancaster to walk away from their creamery feeling connected and included in Lancaster. The creamery is located right across the street from The Fulton Theatre, so the people who come out of shows/plays/musicals can walk across the street, get some ice cream, and discuss what they have seen in the comfort of the creamery. These are the small things that keep the people of Lancaster tight-knit.
Most businesses today, such as coffee shops and cafés most of the time have Wi-Fi that is offered for customers to use. Carmen and David decided purposely not to have Wi-Fi in the creamery. David says that when everyone is hooked up to the Internet, their noses are buried in their laptops and it reduces interaction with other people. Carmen and David's does not have Wi-Fi, so people can be unplugged and more focused on conversing with each other. This creates a more connected setting and allows for people to engage in physical social interaction.
Everyone is Welcome!
At Carmen and David’s, the atmosphere is very warm and friendly. They love to have fun. Their philosophy is that everyone should leave the creamery feeling happy. Carmen and David like to make sure that people feel welcome by introducing customers to each other, engaging in conversations, and laughing a lot.
CARMEN AND DAVID’S GREEN LIFE AT HOME
At home, Carmen and David live a sustainable lifestyle as well. Here are some of the things that they do at home to go green: In their home, they use energy efficient appliances. They also have a programmable thermostat, which allows them to only heat the house when they are home and is set to automatically cut the heat back to minimum temperatures when they are at work. They use biodegradable products for washing and trash. The Hommels have Cloth bags for grocery shopping. They use compact fluorescent lights- and they keep the lights turned off unless someone is in the room. Lastly, something that most green households contain: a rain barrel to collect water for the garden plants.
THE HISTORY OF ICE CREAM
Some say that ice cream was originated by the Chinese all the way back in 3000 B.C; then Marco Polo brought it to Europe. It was considered a high-class decadence. American colonists were then the first to give it the name “iced cream”, which we have now shortened to “ice cream”. The first ice cream parlor opened in New York City. Different products, ways of serving ice cream, and kinds of ice cream have since evolved. Ice cream used to be made with a wooden bucket with a hand-crank. Now, freezers and more high-tech equipment are used to create ice cream. Many ice cream shops today (including Carmen and David’s!) have chosen to go old fashioned way and make ice cream like it used to be made by using fresh, all-natural ingredients.
MAKE YOUR OWN ICE CREAM!
Here is a recipe to make your own delicious ice cream right in your very own home! It’s a fun, safe, and easy activity for your kids! What you'll need:
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1/2 cup milk or half & half
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla
-6 tablespoons rock salt
-1 pint-size plastic food storage bag
-1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Directions to make it:
-Fill the large bag half full of ice and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
-Put the milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag and seal it.
-Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again.
-Shake the bag until the mixture is ice cream- it will take about 5 minutes.
-Take the small bag out of the large bag, open it, and enjoy your fresh, homemade ice cream!
SO, WHERE IS CARMEN AND DAVID’S CREAMERY?
Carmen and David’s Creamery is located at 25 N. Prince Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (It is right across the street from the Fulton Theatre).
For more information regarding Carmen and David's Creamery, or other related businesses, you may visit the following websites: