Fresno sees ice cream business boom

Ice cream is cool again, with customers clamoring for gourmet flavors.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 25-year-old Janel Nunes is an ice cream expert. We watched as she carefully measured out the right amount of vanilla before pouring the mixture into her ice cream making machine at her shop in Northwest Fresno. She's now two years into her business "Jay's Specialty Ice Cream." When we visited, she was replenishing supplies of her top-selling flavor "Oreo Delight." What started as a class project in her entrepreneurship class at Fresno State has developed into a full-fledged business: "I thought I did all the work, might as well try it out, I didn't have anything to lose at that point. So I went for it! Really great and it's different than your traditional store bought stuff and the food truck world is growing a lot right now."

She invested in a truck a year ago, and says Fresno's demand for her ice cream has really taken off. This weekend brought her back full circle. Selling ice cream *at* Fresno State for Vintage Days. Fans appreciate her creative flavors, like "Show Me Da Money" (Payday bars and caramel)... or Banilla-fer: "Once people know it's banana ice cream with fresh banana and Nilla wafer cookies, they're like oh, that sounds really good, let me try that." She's developed over 80 different flavors that are in her rotation.

It's that kind of enthusiasm that Jeff and Amelia Bennett hope will make their new gourmet ice cream shop a success. The couple will be opening "Ampersand" Ice Cream near Fresno High this Memorial Day weekend, with the help of the money they raised via Kickstarter, which shows the community's appetite for ice cream isn't slowing down. In the meantime, the Bennetts have been brainstorming new flavor ideas in their home kitchen, including strawberry balsamic and whiskey caramel swirl. They say the Central Valley is the perfect place to find the freshest ingredients.
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