For local ice cream shop owner, changing business model was a hard decision 


Monitor columnist

Published: 09-16-2023 9:13 PM

Sometimes, when your business is booming and the public loves you, changes must still be made.

That’s the scenario downtown, as Sunday’s ice cream shop will soon be making things hard for its recently expanding customer base and increased sales.

The problem? The specialized process of making soft ice cream depends on a vanilla base and a vanilla base only. No other ice cream is used, and, in this case, the urgent need for that specific flavor, unlike other ice cream outlets that sell multiple flavors, could not be met by distributors. There simply were too many people who wanted Cole Glaude’s product.

“The business grew so much that we could not get enough of that ice cream,” said Glaude, the owner and founder of Sunday’s. “We had so many customers that we just had inventory issues. The supplier didn’t have enough, and we had two suppliers and even they couldn’t get enough of it for us.”

The solution? Glaude is staging a soft opening at his new place on Elm Street in Laconia on Sept. 30. Sunday’s closes on Sept. 24 and will reopen in March. Neither shop is open during the winter.

Both will feature hard ice cream. Both will be called The Social Club Creamery. And both will take some time getting used to, now that Glaude is no longer one of the few sellers of soft ice cream in the state.

“There will be a few disappointed customers, and some will be excited,” Glaude said, adding that exceptions will be made for the hardcore softies. “If you have a flavor you love, we will try to keep it around.”

Glaude is from Belmont and lived in New York City, on the Upper East Side, before settling in Laconia with his wife, Sarah Glaude.

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Their tiny apartment in the Big Apple had no air conditioning. To keep things cool on a tight budget, they ate ice cream a lot.

“We did not have much money so we bought ice cream,” Glaude said. “(Sarah) was into cookie dough. I liked fruit, apple pie ice cream, strawberry ice cream.”

They noticed NYC ice cream was served with a twist, creating a vanilla-based soft product with toppings like Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and apple cider donuts.

Once back in the Granite State, they decided to bring what they loved here. “We wanted to get ice cream and we were not finding what we were looking for,” Glaude said. “We saw the same types of things. We felt there was a gap. We liked other things like cereal-based ice cream.”

They opened Sunday’s on Main Street in 2021. Sarah responded to emails and took care of payroll. She still does that while working full-time as a human resources director.

Cole is full-time. He creates flavors. He runs a machine that swirls hard vanilla ice cream, softening it and creating a smooth texture. Obviously, he does it well.

“The first year was great, and the second was a small increase,” Glaude said. “This year, there’s been a huge explosion, up by 40 percent.”

He speculated that businesses movement downtown, like the 110 Grill, and the closing of Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt might have aided his sales.

“We would get lots of customers right after dinner,” Glaude said. “On a summer night, there would be a line down the block.”

The machine process required to make soft ice cream – rather than merely scooping pre-existing ice cream onto a cone – always took a little longer. Add the line on warm summer nights, and, as Glaude said, “The wait could get to 30 or 40 minutes. Not a lot of people want to wait.”

Enough were waiting, however, to cause an ironic situation for Glaude: Business was up, so the business, as we know it, will soon be gone.

Once, not too long ago, Glaude needed 30 to 35 tubs of vanilla ice cream per week to create the foundation for his product. That was stretching his distributors to the max.

That number has doubled, all for one kind of ice cream. Most shops order as much ice cream, but there’s a difference.

“Other places order 50 tubs for all different flavors,” Glaude said. “But it’s hard to get 50 of the same ice cream.”

He continued, “It’s a weird situation. We’re changing because there’s been an insane amount of growth.”