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June 3, 2015

Faces of Fauquier: Sweet work takes lots of sweat

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Blanche and Mike Harvey with an ice cream cake and a tub of freshly-made “Creamery Pistachio” in the new shop at 147 Alexandria Pike in Warrenton.
I like dealing with people. I like talking to them, making new friends and seeing their smiles when they walk about the door.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
The ice cream merchant has traveled a challenging, winding road to his new shop in Warrenton.

Mike Harvey more than a decade ago faced a stark challenge when downsizing eliminated his job in equipment support at Micron Technology in Manassas. Suddenly in need of a new course, Mr. Harvey and his future wife Blanche visited a franchise expo at the convention center in D.C.

They considered several franchise opportunities in food services but settled on Cold Stone Creamery, an Arizona-based company then relatively unknown in this region. After completing corporate training at Cold Stone University in Scottsdale, Mr. Harvey signed a 10-year lease, spent more than $100,000 to finish the space and opened Aug. 13, 2004, in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center.

Business boomed, ebbed as the Great Recession took hold and gradually rebounded.

Last year, his lease expired and the landlord offered Cold Stone a different space so the adjacent AT&T Wireless store could expand. Mr. Harvey figured it would cost $140,000 to move his business and finish the new space. The landlord offered $25,000.

He closed the store, rented two PODs and put his equipment in storage. A potential lease in Culpeper fizzled because of problems with the utilities there.

Daniel Woodward, who built the new office/retail structure on Alexandria Pike near Eva Walker Park, heard about Cold Stone’s plight and contacted Mr. Harvey.

Mr. Woodward offered to finish the Alexandria Pike space to Cold Stone’s franchise specifications, and the parties struck a deal late last year. The shop reopened Tuesday, May 26.

Already, customers have found the place, which specializes in freshly-made ice cream and ice cream cakes.

“I see the traffic flow is different here,” Mr. Harvey said. “Come 5 or 6 o’clock, it’s a lot busier here (than in the shopping center). People stop by after work . . . . I think the cake business is gonna be really big here . . . .

“I was skeptical. But, somebody told me this was ‘a gateway,’ and she was right. I never knew how much traffic goes by here.”

Mr. Harvey and his staff of 12 make the ice cream with fresh fruit and flavorings and sweet cream that has 14 percent butterfat.

It takes 10 hours for a 2-1/2-gallon batch to complete the process through two freezers and into a lighted display case full of color.

“The big things are inventory control and making sure you keep your cooler full of the flavors that your customers want,” the shop owner said.

Among 80 possible flavors, “Cake Batter” and “Sweet Cream” rank atop the favorites in Warrenton. Cold Stone, which gets 9 percent of store revenue for advertising and royalties, requires every franchise to offer certain flavors and gives local owners discretion on the rest.

Blanche Harvey, who calls herself “crazy about ice cream,” continues to work full-time at Micron but helps out at the shop, decorating cakes and doing other chores. Her paycheck helped the couple weather nine difficult months while the shop remained closed.

He drained his retirement account, Mr. Harvey said. But, he kept the faith.

The shop will host its official grand opening Saturday, June 13, with a ribbon-cutting at noon. Two local bands will play, and the Harveys will donate 30 percent of the day’s proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier.

Mr. Harvey sees lots of opportunities related to this summer’s outdoor movie series and the growing popularity of the town park across Haiti Street.

He regards everyone — “from little babies to elderly people” — as potential customers. “They love that we make the ice cream here.”

The entrepreneur added: “I like talking to them, making new friends and seeing their smiles when they walk out the door.”

• Age

• Home

• Work
Owner/operator of Cold Stone Creamery in Warrenton since August 2004. Ice cream shop recently reopened at 147 Alexandria Pike. Previously worked in equipment support for Micron Technology, Dominion Semiconductor and IBM in equipment support positions.

• Why do you do the job?
I like dealing with people. I like talking to them, making new friends and seeing their smiles when they walk about the door. I have not run into any young people (on the staff) I would not hire again. We have one, (recent Shenandoah University graduate) Kaleigh Winters, who has been with us nine years.

• Family
Wife, Blanche; three adult stepchildren, and two granddaughters.

• Education
Associate’s degree in business, Ferrum College; Culpeper County High School, 1976.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce, Warrenton Moose Lodge and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Warrenton.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Since 1997.

• Why do you live here?
It still has the countryside. It’s not the fast pace. All you have to do is go 15 miles to Gainesville. I’m not one who likes traffic.

• How do you describe this county?
Quiet and slow-paced. The school system is great here. We put three kids through Liberty High School and we can’t complain about it.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I don’t think anything; I like it the way it is. I’d like to see more businesses here to keep people who live here shopping here, so they don’t have to drive to Gainesville.

• What do you do for fun?
Watch sports on TV and play with those granddaughters. Right now in my life, I enjoy the girls so much. I take them whenever I can.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I like going to Molly’s and I like going to McMahon’s (Irish pubs in Warrenton).

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I think it’s gonna grow. I’m already seeing it with the homes around us.

• Favorite TV show?
ESPN, baseball and football . . . and “COPS.”

• Favorite movie?
“Silence of the Lambs”

• Favorite vacation spot?
Nags Head, N.C.

• Favorite food?
“Snifflas,” a German pastry pocket stuffed with cottage cheese, and wings. I like Foster’s (Grille) wings.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
From my dad, who said: “Treat people like you want to be treated and never lie.” Those are two things that stick with me.

• Who’s your hero and why?
Again, my parents. My dad was with the State Department. I was born in Tehran, Iran, and we moved every two years . . . with five kids. I still to this day cannot believe the things they did for us.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
I would probably get out of debt and move south. We’ve talked about Myrtle Beach.

Suggest a profile subject.

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Warrenton native Joan Williams still serving her community.

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.

• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.

• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.

• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.

• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.

• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.

• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.

• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.

• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.

• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.

• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”

• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.

• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.

• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.

• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.

• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.

• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.

• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people

• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.

• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.

• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.

• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.

• Pastor a constant in Calverton.

• She keeps the courthouse spotless.

• He loves working working outdoors at the park.

• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton

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BJ · June 4, 2015 at 9:10 am
Best of Luck to the Harvey family and their "new" new endeavor at Cold Stone Creamery!!
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