March ’08 Scoop


Well, it doesn’t feel like spring quite yet but it will, and soon I can assure you. Slowly awaking from the doldrums of winter, we experienced some fortunate and some no-so-fortunate circumstances during the month of March. First, the good news…

Our relationship with the University of Pennsylvania continues strong as senior Eric Karlan (’08) wrote a beautiful piece on The Franklin Fountain for the 34th Street Magazine. Eric, a brother at Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, learned about our shop while on a freshman pledge scavenger hunt and has been a loyal ice cream eater ever since. His story graced the cover of the magazine, which was inserted into Penn’s weekly newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian, which just so happened to feature a huge photograph on the cover of Eric serving a Root Beer float at the Sophomore Skimmer earlier that week. That’s what you call a double scoop! No doubt many Penn men will be bringing their lady friends down to The Fountain for a “college ice”* when the weather warms up.

Also, on the sunny side, the new {old} Root Beer keg is plumbed in! We’re serving our own concoction of herbs, barks, sugars and other stuff on draught and calling it “Poor Richard’s Root Beer.” For those who don’t know the story, Charles E. Hires invented root beer in this very neighborhood of Philadelphia in the 1870s. Wikipedia has a good version of the story if you search Hires.
And, of course, Franklin’s original shop where Poor Richard’s was printed was located directly across the street from The Fountain {see plaque where the El station is currently}. Voila! Look for an article on root beer in STYLE magazine later this spring.

One Friday night, brother Eric was moving the large metal case full of candy molds in the basement. Unexpectedly, the weight shifted and in a split second he was pinned
underneath of 1,000 lbs of 19th century cast iron confectionery molds. Luckily, the way it fell, his knees took the blow and he was able to reach for his cellular phone to call the shop. Jeff and Ryan bounded down the stairs to the rescue, relieving the pressure until the ambulance arrived. Over at the Jefferson trauma ward, Eric was walking within an hour and we all breathed a sigh of relief. He escaped with a good-looking scar and a story. Now when customers ask why we decided not to make clear toys for Easter this year, we tell them “the pressure was too great.”

On a personal note, our 26 year-old cousin Seth tragically passed away last summer. Seth was working for the American Red Cross and his family has organized a blood drive in his honor. The Berley family will be traveling to Wilmington, North Carolina in a few weeks to help out with the drive and give blood in his hometown. Anyone interested in participating can give blood at any Red Cross sponsored site in your locale during April. Email afterwards and your donation will be credited in Seth’s honor.

If you visit the Fountain and you don’t see Ryan or Eric working the counter, it’s because we’re feverishly working backstage preparing for the busiest season yet! We’ve hired and are training three new staff members: Max, Jenkins and Ashley, who bring film, song and instrumental talents to the stage along with stellar soda-jerking stuff. In the ice cream room, Eric has hired Lawrence, a man of deep intelligence, world experience and a critical palate to help out making the ice cream this year. We’re also improving our equipment, including a new blast freezer and a walk-in {more like crawl-into our 19th century cellar} freezer to handle larger capacities. We’re also continuing to improve our product sourcing & offerings for an even better customer experience.

Coming in April…

Jeff’s ideal for Spring:
“Le Paix” which is a peaceful medley of our new Honey-Rose Ice Cream floated in a Violet-Lavender-Berry soda, garnished with sweet, whipped cream and a quartered strawberry.

Old-fashioned paper straws made by the same company since 1888!

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