Offshore Ice Cream

Cowabunga hand-delivers cones to boats bobbing in Barnegat Bay.

Ellen and Ed Schack started their premium ice cream business in 2009 with a store in Forked River. They named it Cowabunga, appropriating some of the surfer cool of the other shops in the strip mall and their two surfing children. In January of this year they launched to sell nationally. (“Thirty percent of our orders come from Florida,” says Ellen.) They hired a marketing company, which proposed positioning Cowabunga as a “designer” ice cream “synonymous with luxury” and available in a “wide variety of VIP and exclusive flavors such as our Rice Krispy Treat ice cream.” (Who knew Rice Krispies were so chi-chi?) Flavors are grouped in categories such as Hamptons Lux Vanilla, Rodeo Drive Designer Flavors and Madison Avenue Chocolate. So much for surfer cool. If the pitch is more crass than class, at least the ice cream, handmade in small batches with premium ingredients, is tip-top. Favorite flavor here is New York Cheesecake, which tastes like you would hope—only cold and creamy, with chunks of actual cheesecake and graham cracker swirled through it.

This summer the Schacks will begin delivering $5 ice cream cones to the passel of boats that anchor in the Tice’s Shoals area of Barnegat Bay on weekends. Boaters need only turn their marine radios to channel 68 and hail Cowabunga, and the delivery boat will come running. Why cones instead of, say, pints? Environmentally friendlier, says Ellen—no container to toss.

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