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Old School Ice Cream Gains Wetlands Approval

Mason's Farm Market owner wants the summer business to complement his flowers and produce operation on Main Street

Scott Mason and his wife Kathy want to open Old School Ice Cream to complement their farm stand at 770 Main Street. They plan to transform an old, gray, Cape Cod-style house into a red schoolhouse, replete with white trim, a bell and a flagpole.

The take-out ice cream place would have a serving window and patrons would eat their sundaes and cones on picnic tables outside.

"I think it might add a little something to Monroe and the farm stand gives it a country feel," said Scott Mason, owner of Mason's Farm Market, 770 Main Street.

The couple obtained a wetlands permit from the Inland Wetlands Commission on Wednesday night. Now they need a site plan approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission.

"There is no significant impact to the inland wetlands and watercourses," Jeremy Hayden, an Inland Wetlands commissioner, said during a deliberation session.

The commission approved it unanimously with conditions. The main condition is that a railing either be extended or a gate be built to prevent vehicles from driving to the back of the property. Mason had no problem with the condition, so long as that part of his property is not completely closed off.

Bill Carbone of Spath Bjorklund Associates, the engineering firm hired by the Masons, said there will actually be less impact on the wetlands behind the property. Two greenhouses would be removed to make way for gravel parking and an existing paved area would be torn up and replaced with grass — reducing the impermeable coverage.

All together there would be 40 parking spaces. In another part of the plan a new septic system would be located further from the wetlands than the existing one.

The Masons will need Department of Transportation approval to add a signal to an existing traffic light on Main Street so vehicles using their driveway have an easier time leaving the property.

If all of the approvals are obtained, the business would be open during the warm weather months. Freshly, and locally, grown ingredients such as blueberries, strawberries and peaches would be mixed into the sweet, creamy, homemade ice cream, according to Scott Mason.

Christine E. June 09, 2011 at 10:46 PM
If our population cannot sustain these businesses, then one or more of them will ultimately close. Let them give it a shot and find out for themselves instead of whining. Regardless of the fact that there is Baskin Robbins, Dairy Queen and Dr. Mikes - all three of their products are nothing to write home about, and i'm looking forward to seeing if someone else has something better to bring to the table.
Designated Hitter June 09, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Gotta be honest, I didn't think 3 pharmacies within a 2 mile proximity was sustainable on Rte 111. But it appears that it is.
Mary June 10, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I think it's a great idea.... But we need to get Kathy a masuk sweatshirt not a ludlowe one!! Lol
Christine E. June 10, 2011 at 12:18 AM
haha that's funny! I bet that would be a really great 'Grand Opening' gift.
Joe Plescia June 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM
The 3 pharmacies on Rte 111 and Rte 25 are corporate owned. Corporate business plans/structure are far different than individually owned small business. Turning a profit at an individual business location are secondary to building shareholder value and gaining market and brand dominance. In a small owner operated business the main focus is making a profit, there are no shareholders etc. Someone noted that "the three" ice cream stores already in Monroe is wrong. There is Baskin Robbins, B-Sweet/Dr. Mike's, Dairy Queen, (coming soon) Golden Cone, (coming soon) Masons, plus a whole bunch of other places you can get a milkshake or a cone of soft serve etc. Such as Duchess, McDonalds (with a new one on the way), Wendy's (coming soon), Mr. Mac's probably has milk shakes at least, Bill's Drive inn has milk shakes. There are a lot of choices in Monroe if you are looking for a cold treat. If you are looking for really good quality super premium hard ice cream there is only one choice in Monroe, B-Sweet/Dr. Mike's.
Joe Plescia June 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Mason's mentions using fresh local berries in their ice cream. Well.....they would need to be freeze dried prior to adding them into your ice cream. You would break a tooth on a fresh strawberry or blueberry thrown into ice cream that is flash frozen in a blast freezer at -40 F as soon as it is churned. The moisture content in the fruit would make it as solid as an ice cube. So much for fresh berries. I might as well dispel another myth while I'm at it. Everyone thinks that Ferris Farm in Newtown makes their ice cream from the milk that their cows give. NOT! They use an "ice cream mix" that is delivered from a local dairy in a box truck. Summary: having 4 or more ice cream stores all in a row on Rte 25 does not make sense (or cents). The new stores will open up, spend huge amounts of money doing so, then close up after losing a ton of money. It costs way too much to set up a store, pay all the bills associated with running it, and then make enough money on selling ice cream to sustain a small owner operated business. Whoever sat down and figured out the business plan needs to go back to school. They will learn the hard way.
barbara June 10, 2011 at 12:48 PM
I think people who stop in for veggies and fruit on a hot day will be tempted by ice cream as well. There is a veggie farm in Shelton that has also opened an ice cream stand. I can understand how Mason's ice cream might hurt the existing ice cream shops along Rt. 25, though. As for fresh fruit in ice cream, I make my own strawberry ice cream every year, with no problems. Then again I don't freeze it at -40 degrees. Is that some kind of health law requirement?
Joe Plescia June 10, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Barb, when you make fresh ice cream in bulk for a busy ice cream store (40 three gallon tubs per day) it is made in a batch mixing machine. Essentially it looks like a soft serve ice cream machine. All the ingredients go in, it gets mixed up and frozen at the same time. It comes out into the tub at the approx. consistency of soft serve. It has to then immediately go into a blast freezer at -40 F to set up to be served as hard ice cream. It takes 1 day or so to "set" before being served. Our ice cream is served usually within a few days of being made, which is why it tastes so fresh. When you make ice cream at home it never gets as cold as ours. A normal household freezer is only set to about 20 degrees above zero. You can add fresh juicy whole fruit to your mix without it ever getting rock solid. We can mix fresh fruit into our ice cream, but it needs to me thoroughly crushed and broken up to become part of the base. The large pieces /whole berries would end up being ice cubes.
John F. June 10, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I think I will pass. I used to go to Dr. Mike's, but was never overly enamored with the ice cream. I find it very unbecoming that you are so eager to put down a competitor in public. If Dr. Mike's ice cream is as good as you say it is, then there is nothing to worry about as people will flock to quality, but you don't seem to welcome the challenge very much as this is now multiple times you have completely put down this couple's new venture. Maybe they think they can do a better job than some of the local ice cream places. If they want to put forth the investment because they have a product they think they can sell, why is it a big deal? Let the best ice cream place be the last one standing.
Life By The Green June 10, 2011 at 03:38 PM
There's also a chapter or two in business school about establishing multiple complimentary revenue streams. as a route to a successful overall enterprise. If they have an existing customer base and an idle asset (old house), the threshhold for profitability may be substantially lower than others.
Christine E. June 10, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Wow, hopefully they will run an article soon where I can shamefully plug my business for free. I find it so disturbing how conceited you are. I will NEVER go to your business, solely because of how you conduct yourself with the public - the people you NEED so that you can make money and keep your business afloat. It's so unfortunate that the only way you feel you can be a success in this town is by trash talking your competitors.
Mary June 10, 2011 at 07:16 PM
I am sure they are not trying to pull a fast one on all us saying they are going to use fresh berries - give me a break! Maybe they are going to use them as a topping?! ? Who cares anyway! Let the people that eat the ice cream decide which they like best. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. I think there is PLENTY of room in Monroe for another shop and competition is what makes our country so great. If they can do it better, why shouldn't they be allowed to?! Plus, I agree with Christine... I can now think of one less ice cream shop I will be giving my business to... I hope Mason's is wildly successful! :) Good luck to them.
Tman June 10, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I hope they carry oreo ice cream for Jenna's sake
John F. June 10, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Nice one Ken, haha.
Jenna June 10, 2011 at 08:41 PM
You know, I called there yesterday and they didn't have any; AGAIN! I don't understand it's such a popular flavor lol. Oh well, I can't believe someone actually remembered me talking about oreo ice cream. Too bad it wasn't Dr.Mike's that rememberd :)
Christine E. June 10, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Hey, they should have a free one waiting for you in the back, remember?
Jenna June 10, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Well I've done everything he recommended. I've called. I've asked if they had it in the back ( when there was no line) And I've asked if I could have a quart packed to go if they had it available. They still said no and never looked in the back so I've given up hope. I'll just go to Bethel from now on.
Christine E. June 10, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Does he own bethel now, too?
Tman June 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Jenna, I know Mcdonalds is not the best place for ice cream...but try the oreo Mcflurry...can't get much better than that...or the new Rolo Mcflurry, but the Best place is Ferris Farms in Newtown, or the second runner up is Rich's Farm on route 67 in Oxford
Christine E. June 10, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Yeah, McFlurry's are pretty bangin'. But I agree, I love Ferris - the farm stand in Shelton is really good, too! Heard great things about Rich's, but I haven't gotten down there yet. Will have to make that happen soon.
Jenna June 11, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Thanks Ken, I'll normally stop there if i'm in the mood for soft serve but sometimes I just want hard ice cream and that seems to be the only place I found I like, but i'm going to start checking out some places in Newtown I heard were good. and when all else fails I'll get it from Stew Leonards, they have the best soft serve
gary snajder June 15, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I can only wish the Mason's the best of luck, they deserve it.... They are one of the hardest working families I have ever met. Having been in the nursery business myself and being self employed I know just how much work and sacrifice goes into running a business. As for the competitor that seems to be bashing Mason's, you should really think before you speak, that is NOT a professional way of conducting yourself as a business man. Mason's prides themselves on quality and I am sure that they will run "Old School" in the same manner. There are plenty of people around to conduct business with the competitive businesses in town, and they all have a different taste in what they are looking for, so if you have a great product and treat your customers right you should have nothing to worry about. I can't wait to enjoy what the Mason's will have to offer, they truly enjoy what they are doing and I'm sure that this will continue at "OLD SCHOOL". Best of luck to you !!!!
dee dee martin June 15, 2011 at 06:37 PM
well said Gary!!
Christine E. June 15, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Ironically, I remembered this post a couple of days ago and took it upon myself to go to McDonalds for an Oreo McFlurry. They were ALL OUT! haha I couldnt' stop laughing. Poor Jenna.
John Kocis June 16, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Nice job Gary Snajder, give anybody credit for taking a shot at the title in this economy, or even in this hostile CT buisness State. Tell you the truth when we cant make it to Rich's we stop at DM for a quick one for the last 15 years. Latley the place has gotten dummpy an the girl was bothered having to serve us. 2 cones $9 wtf. What a shame, think the owner is a good guy, but must be taking a beating as well. Taste buds will decide an change is good. Hell, we enjoy both Vassy's and Country Pizza which are both ends of the spectrum.............Good luck to all..........
Janyce P September 02, 2011 at 07:49 PM
B-Sweet/Dr. Mikes feels like a TOTAL sell out to me. I grew up eating Dr. Mike's Ice Cream and buying trinkets at Funny Bones (when it still existed). Now all I taste at Dr. Mike's is chemicals. Monroe NEEDS more home grown goodness. Seriously, we're becoming this town of all these big corporations and we could use a little bit of these "back home roots." Best of luck Mason's, I look forward to eating your ice cream!
Joe Plescia December 21, 2012 at 06:25 PM
What happened to Golden Cone???
jim laguardia December 22, 2012 at 12:01 AM
No one likes a sore winner
Christine E. December 22, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Well, I kept my word. Still haven't been back to your business since your rant back in July of 2011. Ferris Acres is better, anyway.
jim laguardia December 22, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Christine I think you need to become a member of C.U.A.R.M.B.O. Citizens United Against Rude Monroe Business Owners

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