Screamin’ for ice cream

Screamin’ for ice cream

Summertime is the perfect time for ice cream — unless, apparently, you’re the owner of an ice cream parlor.

Defying weeks of claims that he was just “closed for renovations,” Sven Lapiner finally admitted this week that he had closed the Ben & Jerry’s parlor on Atlantic Avenue, claiming a lack of business forced his hand.

“Retail ice cream stores can not survive with only summer business,” said Lapiner in an e-mail. “High rent, high insurance costs, high electricity costs, high labor costs are just a few factors.”

Lapiner’s Ben & Jerry’s, which was between Court and Clinton streets, is the second to close in the area. A Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop on Court Street in Cobble Hill was closed in 2003. That closing also was originally said to be for renovations.

Lapiner told The Brooklyn Paper that he tried to keep the franchise going by selling to another Ben & Jerry’s franchisee. Now it appears that another popular — and local — ice cream stand, Uncle Louie G’s, will take over the space, he said.

John Russo, a spokesman for Uncle Louie G’s, confirmed the two sides were in negotiations, but the transaction had not been finalized. “The papers haven’t been signed yet — it is going back and forth,” he said.

The old rule about retail — location, location, location — is certainly a factor, but there are other difficulties, said Ben & Jerry’s specialist Rob Michalak.

“Generally the success of a franchise depends on the area and what is going on with that specific area, including the weather,” said Michalak.

But Sandy Balboza of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association said the specific region has massive foot traffic and is great area for business.

“I don’t know the specifics of why the Ben & Jerry’s closed, but there was a Peter’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop [on the same block] that was certainly in business for a long time,” said Balboza. “But we’re very sorry when a business closes in the area for whatever reason.”

Neighbors of the scoop shop were also sad to see it go.

“It’s disappointing because there are not many Ben & Jerry’s locations in New York and I definitely enjoyed their shakes and ice cream,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Faris Khade.

John Cesario, an employee of the Sahadi’s Importing Co. next door to the shuttered ice cream emporium, said he’s seen a lot of “disappointed faces.”

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