You guys, this is the NEWS OF THE CENTURY! Well, at least we think so! When we bought Bridgeman's Ice Cream in 2015, we always heard two things from friends, family and fans. 1) We LOVE Bridgeman's Ice Cream and 2) We didn't realize it was still around! This became the #1 goal we had to fix...we needed people to know we are still here! We have many dreams and goals for this company but one of our main ones was to create an old fashioned ice cream parlor that would remind you of the nostalgic days of past. We said in 5 years we would do it!
Last year, we realized that 5 years was quickly approaching. We had met many of our goals (rebranded our image, designed new retail tubs, increased our web presence and gained significant accessibility to our fans by getting into HyVee, Kowalski's, Von Hanson's and many more great family owned markets). We felt like we had reached the ceiling of what we could accomplish without a brick & mortar location. There has always been an AMAZING full restaurant still in Duluth that is an individually owned franchise of ours. Shout out to owners Jay and Emily Broman in Duluth! They are the real deal. If you want a full Bridgeman's Restaurant like you remember from growing up, their place in Duluth is a must see! But we needed something in the Twin Cities for all of our amazing, loyal fans. Thus, we started our discussions of what, where, when and how we could re-create this brand in a way people relate to from their past.
There is something special about Bridgeman's. We have always known that. This intangible piece that somehow kept our ice cream so close to many peoples hearts. Everyone has their Bridgeman's story. "I met my wife at Bridgeman's!" "My grandma used to take me to Bridgeman's every Sunday after church." "Bridgeman's was my first job!" You name it, we have heard it. Actually, almost every time we talk to someone who knows and loves our brand, they share a personal and heartfelt story. It quickly became our favorite part of owning this company. It seemed to have this magical ability to bring people together. This was what we needed to find a way to recreate. We couldn't be just another scoop shop. Yes, we have a premium ice cream but it was more than that. We needed to be what everyone knew, loved and remembered. We needed to find a way to stay close to everyone's hearts. But HOW???
We have spent the last year discussing just that. Why does everyone love Bridgeman's so much? It seems we have this piece of the past that no other Minnesota ice cream company will ever have. We need to honor that and bring it into present day. After hours of discussions, we feel like we got to the core of it. Bridgeman's was a place that revolved around family. It was a special, high quality treat to be enjoyed on momentous occasions, yet a part of your every day memories. It was a time that the world slowed down and you got to savor something truly special with the ones you loved. This is what we needed to rebuild. A place to sit, relax, laugh and spoil your loved one for just a moment before the hustle and bustle of the 21st century retook its hold on you. We needed to take you back to a time that everyone lived in the present. A time when you talked with the person sitting next to you instead of looking at your phone. We knew it would be a challenge, but we were up to the task.
The world has changed and modern society has created some challenges. People go at a pace like never before. Dessert is no longer something that is enjoyed solely as a treat, but kids have grown to expect it almost every day. How can we stay special? How can we make you slow down? We wanted to find a way to promote conversation, family and kids. We wanted to create a place that your kids would remember when they are old and gray. We wanted Bridgeman's to mean as much to your grandkids as it did to your grandmother. This was going to be a big task! We took to social media and asked our fans what pieces of Bridgeman's they loved the most. The most common responses we got outside of the memories was our famous U shaped ice cream counter, glass dishes and malts with the wafer cookies. Ok, that we can do! Re-create quality experience? Done! Now how do we foster building special memories to last a lifetime? We want to provide a place for families and friends alike to sit down and enjoy each others company. A chance to get to know your neighbor. An opportunity to feel like you are part of the local community and neighborhood. Got it! We chose a location in Woodbury. Our home. A place we have known and loved our entire lives. A place that needed hard scoop ice cream! Our design includes a U shape counter just like the good old days, a harvest table to sit with a large group or to get to know someone new and a few cozy booths to enjoy quiet time with a loved one. But it still seemed like something was missing. An opportunity to support children and their families. An opportunity to give back.
Let me take you back a step. None of us went to college to become an ice cream aficianado. I went to school to be a teacher. Meggan (another owner) spent a decade working in schools with families whose children were on the spectrum. Education was close to all of our hearts. We had always dreamed about becoming a social impact business. It would be a way to celebrate our success by giving back to a cause that had always been close to our hearts. We decided this was the key to ensuring Bridgeman's remained something special. Something different from the rest. We have decided to commit ourselves to supporting education not just in our community but throughout the world. It was during the heat of these discussions that fate should take over and bring Common Hope into our lives. If you haven't heard of this amazing organization, check them out online. They are a local non-profit organization who support children and families in Guatemala trying to improve their lives thru education. We heard about their mission and knew we had to be a part of it! There will be many different occasions you may see us partner with them...the primary way by featuring a special sundae on our menu where a portion of the proceeds goes straight to their organization!
So, starting in Spring 2020, you will be able to stop by Bridgeman's Ice Cream Parlor located at 2110 Eagle Creek Lane in Woodbury, MN! We are excited to open an amazing old fashioned ice cream shop in the heart of our own community. Wish there was one in your neighborhood? Consider opening a franchise! We want to ensure every location is locally owned by a family in the community delivering quality service to their neighbors. More on that to come!
Crystal, Meggan, Brian and Brittany
Please Note: We are committed to expanding Bridgeman's and making ourselves more accessible to all our loyal fans. Bridgeman's has always been a place that is family centric. Our vision for the company is for every Bridgeman's location to be a family owned, neighborhood business. This concept will ensure you're giving back to your local community and supporting a local family every time you give them your business. It will also ensure our fans are always given the best products and services. To accomplish this, we want to help offer local entrepreneurs two model choices when investing (Restaurant or Parlor). Because there is already an amazing full restaurant in Duluth, we have chosen to open a Parlor (dessert only, no food) model in the Twin Cities. We hope to connect with other local families to parter and expand both models throughout the Twin Cities and the rest of Minnesota. Stay tuned for more information regarding franchise opportunities.
2110 Eagle Creek Lane #200
Woodbury, MN 55129