By Todd Buchanan
Walking around the lakes and stopping off for a cone at Sebastian Joe’s is a quintessential Minnesota experience—when it’s not -40 degrees outside. After the inevitable holiday rush, things tend to get a little quiet at the Twin Cities’ local ice cream parlors.
“It’s just not the same demand,” says Greg Hefferan, product manager at Sebastian Joe’s.
“A lot of people who are coming in are really passionate ice cream lovers, but it definitely slows,” explains Shannon Leach, general manager at Izzy’s Ice Cream in Minneapolis.
The slowdown in the winter months is inevitable, and shops make adaptations to help them get through the wintertime. Pumphouse Creamery is closed Mondays during the cold season, and all of the Sebastian Joe’s and Izzy’s locations shorten their daily hours.
Some shops offer treats other than ice cream to help drive in the crowds. “When people found out we had hot Peace Coffee for a dollar, then they started pouring in,” laughs Leach. Sebastian Joe’s opens early in the morning to sell coffee and pastries to hungry crowds in both of its Linden Hills and Uptown locations, and it’s a regular morning stop for many of the areas’ patrons.
Hefferan notes that special deals help, too. Sebastian Joe’s offers a sliding discount throughout January and February: for every ten degrees the mercury dips below freezing, ice cream enthusiasts score an extra percentage off.
And although the lines for frozen treats may not stretch around the block in January, none of the shops are ready to turn in their scoops until springtime. After all, we’re Minnesotans—it’s not that cold outside.