Ample Hills Creamery wants to be the next Ben & Jerry’s. To achieve this goal, the ice cream company is moving into a 15,000-square-foot Brooklyn warehouse — New York’s biggest ice cream factory — with an additional storefront. And it’s expanding to Los Angeles, Bloomberg reports.
The new Red Hook space will serve as the production facility for all nine stores and shipments, featuring large windows that display ice cream as it’s made.
The Brooklyn-born creamery has a ways to go, though, until it reaches Ben & Jerry-levels. Now-behemoth B&J pulls in $1.23 billion in revenue annually, while Ample Hills hovers around $7.5 million. To catch up, co-founder Brian Smith will hold a Series A funding round to raise $8 million to finance store growth and better product.
This isn’t the first time Ample Hills has gone the financing route: In 2015 Brooklyn Bridge Ventures invested $4 million to the company. Another unexpected ally in this growth is Disney CEO Bob Iger, who has been a supporter of the brand, sending pints to Jimmy Kimmel, Mike Nichols, J.J. Abrams, Tom Hanks, and Oprah.
In a charming anecdote, Iger and Smith met when Smith noticed Iger’s name on his online order sheet. So Smith sent him a custom image of Mickey Mouse in an Ample Hills t-shirt, and Iger responded offering advice to the newborn brand. Now, Ample Hills is collaborating with Disney on Star Wars flavors as it angles to become the next big name in ice cream.