After a long winter we’re finally being rewarded with warm weather which can only mean one thing – it’s time to head to everyone’s favorite local ice cream shop, Cranford Vanilla Bean Creamery. Owner Ralph Kopelman had previously worked in men’s clothing but after 25 years he was ready for a career change. Ralph had previously made ice cream at home for friends and family but before opening Vanilla Bean Creamery he attended Ice Cream University in West Orange. Once he was armed with the knowledge and skill to make artisan ice cream Cranford Vanilla Bean Creamery opened its doors in 2010.
Vanilla Bean Creamery always carries at least 32 flavors, all homemade. Ralph mixes up premium ice cream, as well as frozen yogurt and sorbet. In the summer the offerings expand even more, and there are between 35-40 flavors available. The flavors offer something for everyone, from children to adults. Cookie Monster (Vanilla ice cream loaded with chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and fudge swirl) is one of their most popular flavors. For those with more mature palates Salted Caramel Pecan has proven to be so popular that it’s been added to the regular rotation. Vanilla and Chocolate always sell well, along with Vanilla Bean Creamery’s award-winning Bananas Foster. Ralph also creates seasonal flavors with Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Chocolate Pretzel Crunch, and Root Beer Float among his summer flavors. The sorbets are also a customer favorite with Peach Mango, Pink Grapefruit, Lemon, and Blood Orange available this time of year. Many of the flavors come from customer suggestions, which Ralph then tinkers with at home before they make their debut at the store.
Ralph’s past retail experience prepared him for dealing with customers, but he finds that selling ice cream is much more enjoyable than selling suits. His customers enter with a smile and everyone leaves happy. The store’s mantra is “Give customers what they want,” and Ralph understands that the business is all about customer service. Vanilla Bean Creamery has a neighborhood feel even though it serves artisan ice cream created with high-quality ingredients. Ralph loves being in Downtown Cranford as the customers and other local businesses have been extremely welcoming. Vanilla Bean Creamery also gets large crowds due to the nearby restaurants and movie theater.
Vanilla Bean Creamery is the perfect place to go to when you have a special occasion. They create delicious ice cream cakes that can be customized with any of their homemade flavors. The store also holds birthday parties, mainly geared towards younger children. The parties entertain the children by having them guess ice cream flavors, watch a demonstration on ice cream, and create their own sundaes. Vanilla Bean Creamery may be only 4 years old but it’s already become a summer tradition for many local families.