Nothing beats the heat than ice cream. So when the temperatures rise, people try to cool off, at one of the Hudson Valley’s favorite ice cream destinations; Alley.
Julian Hom, the owner of Alleyway Ice Cream in Saugerties, says he enjoys introducing the taste buds to new and unique flavors like mango sticky rice, white chocolate passion fruit and tahini halva. Hom’s business remained strong despite the pandemic; last summer, he says the lines stretched around the block.
“It’s so hard to believe, but people say it all the time. They’re like, ‘I read about you online or in a magazine and we drove about four hours from Rochester to come here just to try your ice cream,’” Hom said.
But despite a booming business, Hom may have met its match in the form of inflation. He says he pays over 55% more for things like gloves, spoons and cocoa powder. It’s something felt by restaurateurs and ice cream parlors across the state and country. According to statistics from the US Bureau of Labor, dairy product prices are up 15-20% more than last year.
“Milk is more expensive, chocolate is more expensive, cups are more expensive, spoons are more expensive,” Hom said. “But we still managed not to increase our prices.”
And with gas prices soaring, those 200-mile trips for ice cream could melt away. So Hom is doing more to encourage locals to take a scoop.
“Make sure the locals have a good time, enjoy our ice cream,” he said. ”
As Hom prepares for a surge in business during its hottest and busiest season, he says he expects to make a little less per cone. But it’s worth it if it means keeping its prices stable for customers. Because nothing brings a smile on a hot day like ice cream.
“What we’re doing seems to be working, so we’ll keep going,” Hom said.