Students file in from the winter air, lining up in front of the counter, glass panes protecting the tubs of ice cream. A section is devoted exclusively to toppings: gummy bears, rainbow sprinkles, and chopped up Reese’s cups, among others.
The student employee shovels a pile of Oreos on a large scoop. Another pumps a stream of thick hot fudge over another. Whatever the flavor, the size, or the toppings, the same expression follows when the cup or cone is handed over to its purchaser—a large smile, eyes widened with excitement. It’s a feeling that only White Mountain can provide to Boston College students, a Comm. Ave. mainstay for more than 30 years.
Peter Coufos, the owner and manager, shared how the beloved and quaint ice cream shop came about.
The first White Mountain Creamery in the country opened up in 1985 on Comm. Ave. right across from BC. The original owner of the franchise chose to open all the shops near college campuses to entice a younger customer base. Eight years after its opening, Coufos bought the BC location from the original owner.
“I was working in the computer industry back in the late ’80s but I also had experience in the food industry and grew up working in various food establishments,” Coufos, who has lived in Boston his whole life, said in an email. “I really wasn’t happy working in an office environment and knew that I needed the freedom and feeling of being my own boss.”
After always being a big fan of ice cream, Coufos didn’t hesitate to purchase White Mountain Creamery at BC in 1993.
Behind the scenes of production, White Mountain’s ice cream is produced three to four times a week during slow times, and five to seven days a week during busy influxes of customers. As customers increased over the years, the staff switched from hand-cranked ice cream makers to batch ice cream freezers to meet demand.
“We keep a fresh rotation of our product and order quality ingredients to complement our premium ice cream,” Coufos said.
With more snow imminent and bitterly cold weather already creeping across campus, Coufos acknowledged that winter time is always a slow season in terms of sales for the business. Despite this, New England remains the region with the highest ice cream consumption level all year round, possibly because of our familiarity with the cold and refusal to sacrifice something as good as ice cream in the process.
The “freshman 15” seems justifiable when it comes to staying warm during the winter, and with White Mountain only a short walk away, students simply cannot resist.
Coufos described how the staff keeps a list of regular flavors on hand at all times along with a list of special flavors that is changed daily or weekly. Such special flavors are made according to customer requests and general popularity of certain flavors. Coufos cites Mocha Fudge Chip as his favorite ice cream flavor.
“My favorite part of being in the ice cream business is the challenge in keeping the business successful, creating new ice cream flavors and providing a high level of customer service that hopefully gives customers a great experience,” he said.
Anna Gallagher, a White Mountain employee and MCAS ’20, shared her experience as well.
“Working there is so fun because all the student workers are so nice and funny, and I get to meet people across grades and majors who I would not have met otherwise,” Gallagher said. “The owner is a great guy and the business is family-run so I feel special as a worker there.”
Whether it be for first dates, birthday treats, or post-athletic and academic celebrations, White Mountain’s ice cream has become the cherry on top for BC students. BC’s dedication to the beloved creamery as well as the handwork put in by Coufos and all those involved in working at the store prove that it’s never too cold outside for ice cream.
Featured Image by Archer Parquette / Features Editor