Zsa’s Ice Cream, the Manayunk-made Co-op favorite with a scoop shop in Mt. Airy, touched base with wholesale clients in July to explain the lack of their pints in stores since the COVID-19 pandemic. The bad news? Don’t expect to see pints in the freezer cases until next year. The good news? Business at the scoop shop is great, and the company is doing well overall.
“I consider us fortunate to have the ability to pause our wholesale business once we saw that the business coming from our shop was what would pull us through these strange times,” Daniellle Jowdy, owner of Zsa’s, wrote in a July 23 email. “Being forced to slow down and stand still, something that I’m not great at, has really put me in a position to think through what our next steps are and how to improve efficiencies and processes to be a better manufacturer.”
Typically, Zsa’s would employ four to five additional seasonal ice cream producers in their tiny Manayunk production kitchen. That number of workers can’t social distance in the space, so Jowdy has had to keep her crew small, although she didn’t lay off anyone. The group on hand initially tried to produce ice cream for the shop and the stores, but found that impossible.
“The revenues from our retail shop support us immediately and directly,” Jowdy wrote. “A wholesale business is at times a six-week turnaround time between receiving a purchase order — filling it, shipping it, and being paid for it — and the expense to keep it going is great.”
Zsa’s products have been distributed through Bassett’s Ice Cream, and there was a large inventory at the start of the pandemic, but it is now gone. Jowdy wrote that she isn’t able to provide Bassett’s with an ETA for when she’ll be ready to take on wholesale business again. They are waiting on the arrival of a pint filler, which will help her crew be more efficient in the space, but the shipment has been delayed. Once it arrives, her staff will need time to train on the machinery.
According to Jowdy, Zsa’s has committed to making sure that co-ops and local grocers will get the first crack at wholesale orders. She will continue to provide updates as their timeline and production processes evolve. Contact her with any questions at email@example.com; emails from that address will be answered on a weekly basis.
Zsa’s scoop shop is located at 6616 Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy; it’s open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.