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Byflimemeini get the scoop oo ice ciream aod miuich moire
By SUSAN KAUFFMAN
Speca to the DTH
When a premier ice cream maker
scooped Ben and Jerry's Heath Bar
Chunk in front of the Weaver Street
Market in Carr Mill Mall Annex on
Saturday, it was the first time many
people in the crowd had heard of the
The lack of strong name recogni
tion in Chapel Hill did not surprise
Jerry Greenfield, co-owner of Ben
and Jerry's Ice Cream, who said the
company does not yet actively dis
tribute in this area.
Ben and Jerry's ranks number two
in national ice cream sales, second
only to Pillsbury-owned Haagen
Dazs, Greenfield said. Unlike most
company presidents, who might only
brag about such an achievement,
Greenfield preferred to scoop the all
natural ice cream studded with one
inch square hunks of chocolate bar.
Greenfield also chatted with the
people who had turned out on a gray,
chilly day to eat ice cream outdoors.
"This flavor is Cherry Garcia, named
after our favorite guitarist," he told
a small child, who had almost
certainly never heard of the Grateful
As his wife Elizabeth filled pink,
blue and green "Ben and Jerry"
balloons with helium, Greenfield
scooped ice cream and talked about
Community-owned market to offer friendly atmosphere,
By CAROLE SOUTHERN
The people of Carrboro and
Chapel Hill are curious.
Before 1 1 a.m. on a sleepy
Saturday people were lined up out
side the Weaver Street Market in
Carr Mill Mall Annex. Young and
old alike enjoyed balloons, ice cream
and familiar faces at an ice cream
"scooping," which featured Jerry
Greenfield, co-owner of Ben & Jer
ry's Homemade Ice Cream.
The preview was held so that citi
zens could learn about this
community-owned grocery store,
which will open in May. Interested
observers had the chance to talk to
those involved in the market, see the
space and find out more about this
new type of store.
"The people in Carrboro are very
helpful and really excited about our
store," said Ruffin Slater, one of the
market's three general managers.
The people who work and shop in
this type of market will also own it,
Slater said. Workers receive a share
of the profits and a voice in their
employment. Customers will have
the chance to receive a 5 percent dis
count and a share of ownership in
the market if they invest at least $75.
C.C. and Alice Hollis, of 104
Glendale Drive, said they were
.anticipating the market's opening.
"We have invested in the market
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his business philosophy.
"There's a feeling as you get more
successful, you see yourself as having
more to lose," he said. "Being risk
aversive is not a good way to run
a business or your life. We're trying
to do innovative things and not worry
too much about how we're doing in
In the corporate world, giving 2
percent of pretax profits to charitable
organizations is considered generous,
Greenfield said. Ben and Jerry's gives
This unusual approach to business
has caught the eye of the media. The
New York Times, Time, Life and the
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
have all run specials on the two
The company has come a long way
since Greenfield and his friend Ben
Cohen started the business 10 years
ago after scrimping together $12,000
in start-up capital. By 1987, projected
net sales had reached $27 million.
In 1976, Greenfield worked at N.C.
Memorial Hospital as a medical
technician and repeatedly tried and
failed to get into medical school, he
said. Cohen, a friend of Greenfield's
since seventh grade, had just quit his
job teaching crafts to mentally
The two knew nothing about
making ice cream, Greenfield said,
and are happy at the opportunity to
save money when we do our
"The people who had the idea for
this type of store combined different
models that they have seen," Slater
said. The market owners are trying
to recreate the flavor and intimacy
of the neighborhood grocery store,
which is rare in today's society. The
owners also hope the market will
play a role in the community and
improve the community fabric, he
"The Weaver Street Market is try
ing to create an atmosphere not
impersonal like large supermarket
chains but friendly and persona
ble where the employees know the
customers by face," Slater said.
Greenfield said, "I think it's really
good to have community-owned
stores because people need to get
involved with their own lives instead
of sitting in front of the TV. I like
community involvement in general
because it is good for the future of
Shares in the market are priced at
$75 for one adult, $135 for two
adults in the same household and
$175 for three or more adults in the
same household. Shares are refunda
ble and can be paid in full or in
"A refundable share does not
change in value." Slater said. "If you
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and they did not have enough capital
to invest in equipment for their first
"We were just going to be this little
homemade ice cream bar from this
$5 correspondence course," he said.
"The whoje thing is pretty
For some people, Ben and Jerry's
popularity comes from the owners
social activism as much as from their
outstanding ice cream.
"We're converting people down
here to Ben and Jerry's," said Margie
Stockton, a Duke alumna who had
just bought some of their Mint Oreo
ice cream. Stockton said she grew up
in Burlington, Vt., where Ben and
Jerry started their business.
Cohen and Greenfield are creative
about making and naming their ice
cream, Stockton said. But she said
she probably would not be as "gung
ho" about their product if they did
not send out a good social message.
But people often wonder why Ben
and Jerry's has contributed so much
to food banks in the northeast and
various ': other nonprofit
"Because business has the respon
sibility to give back to the commu
nity," Greenfield said. "We learned
early on, if we can make it, it would
be because of the support of the
pay $75 and you leave town, we will
give you $75 back."
The use of refundable shares gives
the store operating capital without
having to get a bank loan and pay
interest on it, Slater said. The custo
mers benefit from this because the
store is able to offer lower prices.
After buying a share in the
market, a shopper is entitled to store
discounts, community discounts
from other merchants and the right
to vote for the board of directors (or
run for an office). Customers will
also receive a free newsletter sub
scription, free delivery of groceries
for senior citizens and invitations to
health education seminars and other
Before Saturday's ice cream
scoop, the market had 157 share
holders and shares were also being
sold on Saturday.
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"Their personality seems to per
meate the whole business," said ice
cream customer Mary Martin, as she
savored her scoop of New York Super
Martin said she had seen the
owners on a PBS series called "Build
ing a Business." Ben and Jerry had
picketed the Pillsbury headquarters
for threatening the distribution of
their ice cream. The small business
conducted a grass roots "What's the
Dough Boy Afraid Of?" campaign
against the large corporation and
"We try to get involved in more
than ice cream," Greenfield said.
While Greenfield was scooping ice
cream, his partner was in the Soviet
Union. They want to open a store
there and use the proceeds to fund
cultural exchanges, Greenfield said.
World peace is the cause he most
wants to promote, he said.
In advising people who want to
start their own businesses, Greenfield
said people do not necessarily need
to listen to what the experts say.
"I would say do not try to pretend
to appear to be something you are
not, especially something larger or
more professional," Greenfield said.
"Let people relate to your business.
You know, it is hard for people to
relate to these big corporations."
"We hope to have hundreds and
thousands of shareholders eventu
ally," Slater said. "The amount of
money saved in a year will make it a
Community ownership is not the
only distinguishing feature of the
market. It also carries a fresh foods
product line enabling customers to
find produce that is not sprayed
with chemicals, Slater said. Fruit
and vegetable juices are also
squeezed daily, and one can find a
tremendous selection of unpackaged
nuts, bulk grains and spices.
"The market will emphasize
locally produced fresh foods in
order to save on transportation
costs, promote a local economy and
concentrate on a close-knit com
munity," Slater said.
Dorothy Stevens, a Chapel Hill
resident who was present at Satur
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Jerry Greenfield dishes out free
day's preview, said she liked the idea
of a natural foods grocery store. "I
don't like supermarkets where every
thing looks plastic and artificial."
"I like stores that treat you like an
individual rather than having mass
food and mass treatment of custo
mers," Stevens said. "In a big store
you are just a person who buys I
like the small-town aspect because
being treated like an individual is
A cafe with patio dining and
music outside during warm weather
will be located inside the 7,000-square-foot
market. The market will
also contain a fresh fish and poultry
market, a deli, a book department
and a newsstand, Slater said. The
cafe and deli will serve prepared
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ice cream in Carrboro Saturday
foods, but they will all be natural
"We want to provide a conven
ience, such as the fast food places
do, but combine it with a higher
quality of food," Slater said. "I think
that the concept will be really
The market is the first business to
receive a loan from the Carrboro
Downtown Development Commis
sion. The owners' application
stressed the market's advantageous
location, which would attract people
and other businesses to the down
town Chapel Hill area, Slater said.
"Other businesses are also excited
because they are looking for us to be
an anchor and bring more people to
this area," Slater said.
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