Michele and Tony Bellafronte are entering their fifth year owning the Collins Creamery in Enfield, which was opened by Michele’s parents, Jack and Mavis Collins in 1995.
It is not surprising that the ice cream is delicious or that business is booming, but you may be surprised to know that Tony, the man behind the ice cream, hates to eat ice cream.
“I will rarely eat soft serve ice cream with pie, but my focus is on the pie,” Bellafronte said. “I’ve made the ice cream for 14 years. I don’t even test it anymore. I’m still in business, so it must be right.”
Despite his personal feelings about eating ice cream, Bellafronte loves making it.
“You can’t take that away,” he told us.
His joy in his work keeps crowds coming back every season.
Some favorite flavors include peanut butter cup, coconut chocolate chip and vanilla bean. The most popular flavor, however, is pumpkin ice cream, and it’s only available in the fall.
Bellafronte said “it’s those crazy flavors that don’t pull in as much as vanilla, coffee, et cetra.”
Other than Bellafronte and his wife, Collins Creamery hires out for their workers. About 17 people are employed through the ice cream shop.
As with every other business, the downslide of the economy has taken its toll on Collins Creamery.
“The prices of all our ingredients are way up,” Bellafronte said. “My chocolate chips cost me almost $200.”
Even the cost of mix, made from the cows at Powder Hill Farm, has gone up in price. The milk is sent out to Guida, pasteurized, and bought back by Powder Hill Farm. The mix is 16 percent.
“The percentage has to be at least 12 to be considered ice cream,” Bellafronte told us. “The more fat, the better the taste. Friendly’s is barely at ten percent.”
This creamery started out as a “mom and pop shop,” but Bellafronte says it’s not any more.
“It’s craziness,” he said. “We’re looking to put in a fourth serving window.”
So be sure to keep Collins Creamery in your sights because they’ve been kicking around the idea of putting in a carousel. They also put on events regularly that include face painting and bounce houses, and all proceed are donated to a charity. The creamery also participates in the , providing a free cone for the kids.
Collins Creamery is open early in March and closes in mid November. Bellafronte comes in during February to start season preparations, giving him about a month off from his work.
“There is no day off,” he said. “When you work in a place like this, you’ve sold your life. It could be worse, though. I could be doing something I don’t love.”
Collins Creamery is located at 9 Powder Hill Road in Enfield. To request an order or more information, visit their website at email@example.com or call 860.749.8663.