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October 22, 2018 Family Business Awards 2018

Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream

Current family members working at Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream: Rodney Mortensen (founder Elmer Mortensen's son) and his children — Christopher, Todd and Erika.

3rd Place — Less than 25 full-time employees category

Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream

Headquarters: Newington

Industry: Restaurant/Hospitality

Year Founded: 1915

Founder: Elmer Mortensen

Generation Currently Running Company: 2nd

No. of Full-Time Employees: 3

No. of Part-Time Employees: 9

Family Members Currently Employed at Company: Rodney Mortensen, Owner, father; Christopher Mortensen, Manager/Ice Cream Maker, son; Todd Mortensen, Manager/Communications Coordinator, son; Erika Mortensen Haelen, Manager/Marketing, daughter; Sheryl Mortensen, Office Support, mother.

Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream makes gourmet homemade ice cream that has been voted one of the “Best in Connecticut.” It is a family run business that celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2015. Mortensen uses high-quality, natural ingredients and customers can see the ice cream being made in the shop.

Recent accomplishments

Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream has undergone a huge transformation in the past few years, shifting from a full-building restaurant, serving three meals a day, to Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream, a smaller ice cream shop. The move allowed the company to go back to its dairy roots so it could focus on continuing to provide the highest-quality homemade ice cream.

How do you remain competitive in the market?

It is difficult to compete with chain restaurants and the many ice cream stores that pop up. However, by consistently providing the highest-quality ice cream, we find that our customers return to Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream because of the ice cream itself as well as our friendly, courteous employees.

We utilize Facebook and Instagram to highlight specials or local flavors. Rodney is always willing to make new flavors, and has even made custom flavors on request. This past August he made an Oktoberfest lager ice cream to serve at a local German festival.

In a market where people tend to be overwhelmed by choices, our award-winning gourmet ice cream is what keeps customers coming back for more.

What are the top two goals for your company over the next 10 years?

Over the next 10 years the first goal is to pass the business on to the third generation. Rodney hopes to retire in the coming five years, and he has three children currently involved in the business. His goal is to have his children keep the business going, and even expand it.

The second goal is expansion, including the number of flavors and ways in which we provide ice cream. Strategies include possibly supplying ice cream to corporate and local functions or other area restaurants, as well as expanding social media use.

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