FROST in the News!

07/13/06
Arizona Daily Star – Frosting Away Steamy Summer Days

Brian J.Pedersen

Gelato cart operates at La Encantada as part of weekend concert series

Foothills resident Pam Crooke had an extra reason to go shopping at La Encantada last weekend: fresh gelato.

“Just taking a Frost break,” Crooke said, in between swallows of mint chocolate chip.

Frost, the locally-owned gelato shop on the Northwest Side, has been operating a small cart in the courtyard at La Encantada, 2905 E. Sunrise Drive, on select weekend days since April. Its presence has been in conjunction with the upscale shopping center’s Summer of Enchantment Culinary Concert Series.

Created by longtime friends Jeff Kaiserman and Stephen Ochoa, who both grew up in the Foothills and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2003, Frost became an instant sensation when it opened in May 2005 in the Casas Adobes Plaza at 7101 N. Ina Road, Ste. 101.

“We really can’t complain,” said 26-year-old Kaiserman, who graduated from Catalina Foothills High School in 1999. “We’ve got a nice steady flow of traffic. We have a great repeat customer base.”

Kaiserman said many of his customers come from the other side of town to taste his shop’s many flavors of gelato, a less-fat style of ice cream.

“Our goal is to expand,” said Kaiserman, who hopes to open a second store somewhere in town within the next year. “We’re in the process of working with a lot of people and a lot of developers.”

Kaiserman and Ochoa purchased the cart in January for about $10,000, importing it – like all of their ingredients – from Italy.

The cart, which can hold six flavors, was recently painted to match Frost’s light-blue color scheme, and has been used at various corporate events.

Being able to sell gelato at La Encantada this summer has served as a bit of a test run for Frost, co-owner Ochoa said.

“It gets our name out there,” Ochoa, 25, said. “If somebody has a really good experience at your store, they’re going to tell 10 or 12 people.”

La Encantada has four restaurants as well as high-end grocer AJ’s Fine Foods but no snack options for customers.

“We usually go over to AJ’s and get stuff, but this is definitely a nice alternative,” said Christina Sivo as 4-year-old Will Moon, whom Sivo baby-sits, munched on peach gelato.

La Encantada’s senior manager for marketing, Kai Hsiao, said the Frost cart is serving as a “beta test for us to see if ice cream or gelato does well with our customers.

“One of the requests we’ve had here at La Encantada was for some sort of ice cream or gelato (shop),” Hsiao said. “The retailers, especially, love it. They like knowing that there is something cool and refreshing out there for them.”

Ochoa said, “I think (La Encantada) is definitely a good option for us.”

Crooke, who works at the UA, said Frost should open a store near campus.

“I think students would enjoy it,” Crooke said. “The university (area) would be a great idea. It’s a great meeting place.”

Frost’s cart will make at least three more visits to La Encantada,on July 22, Aug. 12 and Aug. 26.

* Send story ideas to Brian J. Pedersen at 434-4079 or [email protected]