Shop co-owner: ‘We are the filet mignon of the ice cream business’
By Janee Law
Herrell’s Ice Cream is not just a hidden gem for Huntington. As the only Herrell’s location in the state, it’s also a rare, local find for those who crave delicious, high-quality ice cream.
Although it is a franchise, there’s only one other Herrell’s Ice Cream, the flagship location in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Rick and Cathy Meuser, of Huntington Station, co-owners of the Huntington shop, opened the around 1,000-square-foot space in August 2008, inching closer to the nine-year anniversary.
What keeps the business thriving is a lot of hard work and ice cream hungry customers, Cathy said.
“I love the customers. We’ve had customers for nine years and I’ve seen the kids grow up,” Cathy said. “My favorite part is when new people come in and they taste the ice cream for the first time. I love watching the expressions on their faces because they’re so in love with it.”
Rick added, “The ice cream is the core of the business. We are the filet mignon of the ice cream business.”
Located at 46 Gerard St. Herrell’s offers a little something for everyone. The shop serves gourmet premium ice cream; frozen yogurt, both soft serve and hard pack; sorbet and sherbet; no-moo, dairy-free and vegan-friendly ice cream; and no-sugar-added ice cream. Also on the menu are milkshakes, cookies, and cakes.
There are 35 flavors available at a time, but Herrell’s cycles through over 300 recipes throughout the year.
Flavors like Mudpie, Peanut Butter, Malted Vanilla and Cookie Dough are currently available, Cathy said, but a local favorite is the Burnt Sugar & Butter.
A scoop of the creamy Burnt Sugar & Butter pairs excellently with the warm, crunchy texture of the shop’s penuche, which is one of many toppings available.
Steve Herrell, founder of Steve’s Ice Cream and Herrell’s Ice Cream, opened the former in 1973 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and then the latter in 1980 in Northampton. He is known for revolutionizing the ice cream industry by creating a rich and creamy low-air ice cream.
Rick and Cathy got a taste of his ice cream back when they visited Rick’s brother, who at the time attended college in Northampton and worked at Herrell’s.
Rick said he and his wife fell in love with the flavors and it inspired them to open their own business, and wanted to launch it with the Herrell’s Ice Cream name. They met with Steve Herrell, who approved the idea and trained the couple for a week in Northampton, where they created ice cream recipes from scratch.
Now, the couple employees 16 at their Herrell’s location, and the shop matches that in terms of seating capacity. As the summer comes to a close, Cathy said, the shop is looking for new hires for the fall season.
In the meantime, they’ll continue to make new ice cream five days a week through the summer.
“We make everything fresh in the store — our ice cream, our hot fudge, our whipped cream — and it just sells,” Cathy said. “[Herrell's] ice cream is all about the density, the flavor, the texture and low air content.”
The store has also started appealing to Huntington’s furry friends, Cathy said. Herrell’s started selling doggie treats last Thursday.
“Huntington is a very dog-friendly area, so now when they’re outside they can also enjoy a treat.”