Posted: April 19, 2012
Sorry, but I couldn't resist that title...
The witty COWS crew have me thinking about all kinds of delicious word play... but that's just part of this oh so sweet success story.
A veritable institution on Prince Edward Island, the folks at COWS have been creating their own brand of frozen dairy goodness for the past near 30 years.
In fact their secret recipe “dates back to the time of Anne of Green Gables and contains the same all-natural ingredients that were enjoyed by the children of Avonlea.”
There's also a seasonal spot on the Halifax waterfront (which I highly recommend).
With that store and the others kicking in to summer hours next month I was anxious to get the scoop (get it?!) – anyhoo I caught up with COWS' Operations Manager - Brigid Milway.
Brigid spent many summers visiting Prince Edward Island and COWS was always a big part of those trips. Now that she's working there – she tells me she's “living the dream!”
I totally get that!
And I got much more information on this award winning business that I'll share with you now - what follows is my Q&A, as they say, with Brigid Milway.
SABS: Well there's no question as to how you came up with your name COWS... but who comes up with the designs and phrases for your amazing gear – they're brilliant!!!
Brigid Milway: Our t-shirt ideas come from EVERYWHERE! We get them on comment cards in our stores, through staff, family members and our facebook and twitter pages. We review them weekly and each fall put together a Master List of the year’s ideas for review. Our Product Development team narrows them down and our designer Shon works his moo-gic in bringing the ideas to life!
I love when an idea that has had a lot of requests comes to fruition, because it’s great for our cow-stomers to know that their ideas are being herd! (Too many puns?!)
Brigid Milway: Thank you! We are currently working on a few new flavours for the upcoming season as production has JUST begun for this summer. The ice cream team is currently developing some new flavours, and we always strive to use local ingredients wherever possible. Rumour has it that we could be adding Sea Salted Toffee and Chocolate Cheesecake ice creams to the menu this year! Stay tuned…
Brigid Milway: My favourite ice creams are a tie between:
Espresso-coffee ice cream with a chocolate swirl (because I can use the excuse that it’s a coffee substitute and that makes it guilt free)
Cowberry-Vanilla ice cream with Fresh PEI Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries (got to support local, which, ~you got it~ makes it guilt free as well)
SABS: For three decades you've been building the business - how much of that success story is due to being based on PEI?
Brigid Milway: We started out in Prince Edward Island in 1983 and have really enjoyed our success from not only all of the visitors to our beautiful province, but also the locals that visit us year round and bring their guests. It is very important for us to produce all of our T-shirts and Ice Cream at the COWS Creamery in Charlottetown for all of our stores across Canada, because it’s the quality of our local ingredients and products that keep our customers coming back!
SABS: You're an in institution on PEI and you've got stores in NS, ON, AB and BC...but I wondered - any plans to share COWS with the rest of the world?
From Mexico to Australia, our customers aren’t afraid to let us know they need their fix around the globe.
You never know if we might expand outside of Canada someday… But for now, we enjoy giving our fans a reason to visit our stores across Canada, from Prince Edward Island to Whistler, BC.
SABS: Sure seems like a fun and popular place to work...do you need a hand serving this summer? I know more than a few ice cream lovers who would dig the gig!
Brigid Milway: We are currently staffing all of our stores for the busy summer ahead. We are fortunate to have an extremely high rate of return for our staff from year to year, but are always looking for new cowhands to join our team! If you’re wondering what sort of careers can come from scooping- our main office and production teams actually mostly consist of staff that started out in our stores...
As well, many of our seasonal staff spend the off-season working for our sister companies, doing things like fishing for Raspberry Point Oysters and preparing our award winning cheeses! Imagine working in a place that not only sells incredible ice cream, but also Chocolate Covered COW CHIPS, 3 kinds of Cheddar, Raspberry Cordial, Oysters and Anne of Green Gables Chocolates! Talk about a dream job!
We’re still taking applications at www.cows.ca/apply !
For more inforMOOtion (sorry couldn't resist)
Here are the on-line hookups
For their YouTube channel click here
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