Oh, how sweet it is! Based in Oxford, Miss., Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. puts a Southern twist on a tried-and-true Italian favorite. First sold in local markets and restaurants, you can now find Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. in more than 50 retail locations across five states and one brick and mortar location– plus another on the way. In the market for just 10 years, owner Hugh Balthrop explains some of the biggest ups and downs his business has faced.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“Food has always been a passion for me. I started making ice cream at home for my three children. For me, no other business was creating gelato and I saw an opportunity to introduce it to my area.”
What do you love about your business?
“We love seeing smiles and making folks happy. We make all of the traditional Italian flavors and we also put a Southern twist on many flavors that we create. Banana Pudding, Whiskey and Pecans, MS Mary’s Poundcake, Delta Butter Pecans Espresso Brownie are some of our top sellers.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“One that stands out is being invited to the James Beard House. We were invited to the James Beard House because we have a great product and the theme of the dinner was “Taste of the Delta” and we are located in the Mississippi Delta. We had a fantastic experience at the JBH, we met folks from all over the world and it allowed us to step up our culinary game. It was definitely an experience that will last a lifetime.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“COVID-19 for sure. We had to close our first retail location because of Covid-19, sales just about diminished and some of our customers went out of business. We were able to pivot and increase our wholesale business and another opportunity presented itself in the form of a new retail location.”
What Cambro products help make your business work?
Links for Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.
Categories: Cambro Featured Business of the Week