Doc Burnstein’s to open ice cream shop at former Coldstone spot in SLO

jhickey@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2013 

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is opening a third location at 860 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo.


After 10 years in business, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is opening a third location at 860 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo, which formerly housed Coldstone Creamery.

Owner Greg Steinberger told The Tribune that more than $250,000 in improvements will begin June 1, with the goal to open in August.

The rent for the San Luis Obispo shop is three times as high as Steinberger’s other location in the Village of Arroyo Grande, but he plans to stay in business by creating an interactive ice cream shop where “it’s not just about the ice cream, it’s about the experience,” Steinberger said.

Visitors will watch ice cream being made through a window onto a new facility, expected to produce about 20,000 gallons of ice cream per year.

That’s in addition to the 30,000 annual gallons already produced at the company’s existing Arroyo Grande shop and production facility.

The expansion into San Luis Obispo is being funded by a public stock offering that will transform the company into a community-owned business. At $50 a share, the company has so far raised $120,000 of its $400,000 goal.

“I borrowed that idea from the Green Bay Packers,” which is also a community-owned business, Steinberger said.

All shareholders must be people, not corporations, and none can own more than 5 percent of the shares — so no one will have the power to move the company out of the area, he said.

Last year the company earned $1.3 million in revenue, and Steinberger hopes to double that with the opening of the San Luis Obispo facility. He declined to disclose profits.

Doc Burnstein’s revenue so far is comprised of 65 percent ice cream counter sales, 25 percent wholesale, and 10 percent events and catering.

The new location will be staffed by about 30 employees — five more than in Arroyo Grande. The company also operates a scoop-shop in Orcutt on Clark Avenue.

Doc Burnstein’s will begin selling ice cream at Farmers Market in downtown San Luis Obispo starting May 23.

A novelty cart will also sell ice cream outside the shop while reconstruction is underway.

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