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Ice creamery takes rocky road to success

Judith Harlan

Cindy and Greg Hoch are scooping up a bit of the East Coast and bringing it to Carson City with their own brand of ice cream, the Tahoe Creamery, and a restaurant, the Sierra Glen.

“Isn’t that a great name?” asks Greg Hoch.

Tahoe Creamery? It evokes the cool blues of Lake Tahoe.

It sounds creamy, delectable, like an ice cream should.

Greg Hoch is the son of William Hoch, who built the Shady Glen Restaurant and ice cream business into a beloved household name back in Connecticut.

Greg Hoch scooped ice cream at the family soda fountain before he could even see over the counter then studied at Pennsylvania State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in ice cream.

Yes, he says, there is an ice cream degree.

Honest.

It’s called a bachelor of science in frozen desserts.

Along with the science and art of making ice cream, students learn the dessert business.

With that degree in his pocket and several post-graduate years back in the family business, Greg Hoch and family headed west in the year 2000 to strike out on their own.

It was a rocky road.

In fact, Greg Hoch can produce a list of almost classic obstacles that he and partner/ wife Cindy faced in their startup: real estate development deals gone sour and consequent delays (two years); plus, costly unexpected code requirements that popped up after they’d signed their lease on their current location, 1480 N.

Carson Street.

Finally, in June 2002, the Hoches duplicated the popular family restaurant, right down to the menu on the wall and the authentic soda fountain at the counter.

The restaurant was going to pay the bills, says Greg Hoch, while a wholesale ice cream business got off the ground.

They opened the doors and waited.And waited.

Business got off to a slow start.

The two partners made adjustments.

They took the menus off the wall, simplified them – “People got confused, even irritated,” says Greg Hoch, with all of the choices on the first menu.

The business garnered some local press coverage, and recently the Hoches began experimenting with occasional live music in the parking lot – all good publicity.

In the end, though, it has taken word of mouth to make things gel at the Tahoe Creamery and Sierra Glen.

On a recent afternoon, for example, a local Creamery fan dropped by the shop to tell Cindy to call a certain ice cream store in Tahoe City.

The store’s supplier had neglected to deliver for the weekend, and that left it with nothing but sherbet to sell to a full weekend’s worth of tourists, says Greg Hoch.

That storeowner was at the Tahoe Creamery within hours placing a wholesale order with them.

Talking about ice cream gets Greg Hoch excited.

He has 154 flavor recipes.

He gets his blueberries from Maine, his maple syrup from Vermont.

He soaks walnuts in sugar for a week before putting them in ice cream.

He makes ice cream in batches of 10 gallons at a time, keeping the batch small so he can control the ingredient and flavor flow through the batch.

He makes gelatos, sherbets, sorbets, and ice creams.

He made a custom five-gallon batch of peach gelato recently for a wedding and makes cantaloupe ice cream for the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival.

His ice cream is now for sale in Carson City, Tahoe City,Virginia City, Genoa, and the North Shore.

Recently, the Sausage Factory began delivering Tahoe Creamery ice cream as a favor to help the business along.

Despite the their early rocky road, Greg and Cindy Hoch still share their original vision Tahoe Creamery frozen desserts in supermarkets, restaurants, casinos, everywhere, and, as their slogan says, always with “flavor as deep as Lake Tahoe.”


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