Summer Stirring Sweet Competition for Local Ice Cream Parlors

Tombstone is a small town, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for variety and some friendly competition. Ice cream is synonymous with summer, but when demand is low and supply is high it can be troublesome.

On Allen Street alone, four establishments serve up the cold and creamy treat. Emporium specializes in ice cream and frozen yogurt. Each place has something that brings something different to the table. Grandma Fudpuckers has homemade fudge. Tombstone Sweet Memories serves food and T. Miller’s is located inside an inn.

During the summer months, the off-season, things in Tombstone can be slow. Despite the competition, each purveyor claims that they have something that sets them apart from their peers.

Grandma Fudpuckers, 513 E. Allen St., offers customers homemade fudge and candies as well as velvety gelato. Shelby Townsend, an employee, said they have been in their Allen Street location for five years. Before that the shop was in Boothill.

Although the candies and fudge are made weekly, the gelato comes from Angelo’s Italian Ice in Phoenix. Gelato does not have air, which makes it creamier in texture in taste. The butterfat content is also less than ice cream.

Townsend said that they sell an equal amount of fudge, candy and gelato. The shop has 50 different varieties of fudge and 20 to 30 mouth-watering ice cream flavors.

Popular snacks among customers are the cinnamon glazed nuts.

None of the employees or shopkeepers could say why Allen Street is home to so many shops that sell some sort of variation of ice cream.

Townsend said, “I believe there is a lot of competition, but not with us because we don’t sell regular ice cream, but I notice the other two.”

All of the establishments agreed that most of their customers are tourists.

A large cup of the cold treat will cost you $5.99 and a small is $4.99. The homemade waffle cone is $.75 more. A large cup of Italian ice is $4.99 and a small cup is $3.99

Bob Hritz opened Lilly’s Tombstone Sweet Memories, 513 E. Allen St., with his wife on February 1, 2013.

Lilly’s is one of the only places in Tombstone to offer frozen yogurt. Additionally, they sell souvenirs. Hritz said that they would like to sell old-fashioned candy in the future if space permits.

Lilly’s gets its frozen yogurt from Danon Yo, which is thawed and iced in the machines that churn out soft-serve. They also offer two rotating sorbet flavors. The current sorbets are pomegranate-raspberry and watermelon.

Chocolate and vanilla are always on tap, but the rest of the fro-yo flavors are regularly rotated.

Hritz said he refers customers to other establishments if they are looking for ice cream. “There’s three good businesses in town, two that serve ice cream. They’re all owned by nice folks.” He added, “The people who come here come for frozen yogurt. There’s room for everyone in town.”

T. Miller’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop, 530 E. Allen St., serves up a heaping scoop of nostalgia for every customer. The ice cream parlor formerly known as Silver Nugget has been open for a year and half.

Tina Miller also owns the adjacent T. Miller’s Mercantile and the hotel located upstairs.

The ice cream shop has floats, malts, shakes and banana splits as well as sandwiches. Ice cream, coffee, tea and sodas are a mainstay.

Debbie Mangels, who works the ice cream shop, said that butter pecan is the most popular flavor.

The ice cream comes from Good Humor. A small scoop is $2, or $2.90 in a waffle cone. A large is $3.25 and $3.90 in a cone.

The proprietors and employees at each of the sweet shops said that they each offer something different to Tombstone and serve different parts of the town, even though they are located on the same street.

The two businesses also try to sell one flavor different from each other each month.

“Everyone has been gracious about the other businesses and the products,” said Hritz. “I think that says a lot for the merchants for the town.”

The Emporium ice cream shop could not be reached for comment.

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