SoCo Creamery Turning to Fans to Fund GrowthBy Andy McKeever
03:04AM / Monday, December 03, 2012
SoCo Creamery is depending on its ice cream fans to help it expand production.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — SoCo Creamery is asking fans to help it share the premium Berkshire-made ice cream with even more people.
The family-owned micro-creamery has begun a Kickstarter campaign "to make more happy — naturally" by asking for up to $40,000 in pledges to help expand its business.
"Our goal is to raise some money for new machinery. We can't meet the demand in the summer with the machinery we have," co-founder Danny "The Flavor master" Mazursky said last week.
South County Creamery was established as a scoop shop in 2005; four years later it began selling pints, which can now be found in stores across the Northeast. You can still get such flavors as Dirty Chocolate, Lemon Poppy, Berkshire Berry and Mission Fig, selected as one of the best ice cream flavors by The Huffington Post, at its shop on Railroad Street.
But with production limited to 10 gallons at time, new equipment is essential to filling a demand that's coming in from as far as California. Not mass production, caution the owners, but enough to keep churning out the all-natural, locally sourced ice cream to appreciative fans.
"Our next focus is upstate New York and down into the mid-Atlantic region," Mazursky said. "We have customers from all over the country."
The company chose to go with a Kickstarter campaign as a way to "involved our customers," Mazursky said.
"It gets you thinking of different ways to market your company," he said.
The 3-year-old Kickstarter gives creative startups and projects a way to find grassroots capital. Since the investors don't get anything back, other than some nominal rewards, it's also a way for companies to gauge their followers' commitment and interest in seeing them succeed. Since 2009, its some $350 million has been pledged for more than 30,000 projects.
Donors pledge an amount on their credit card toward a tiered reward system, not unlike a PBS drive, for items like a T-shirts or mugs or product. If the campaign is successful, the pledges are called in; if not, the donor's card isn't charged.
SoCo's hoping to raise $39,907 by Jan. 1. So far, it's received $3,719 in pledges from 35 backers. Donors can pledge from $1 up, with $10,000 earning bragging rights to develop a custom flavor and name it. Which is pretty cool if you think about it - who wouldn't want to be the next Cherry Garcia? (Not to mention free ice cream for a year.)
Mazursky said purchasing new equipment will not only strengthen the creamery and help it expand, but will mean the hiring of more people locally.
"It's a great thing. It's positive all the way around," he said.
And, don't worry, Mazursky assured that SoCo won't be leaving the Berkshires.
"We're really happy to be part of the Berkshires," he said. "We are the ice cream of the Berkshires."