Amy's Ice Cream & The Pandemic
Austin Business Journal January 22, 2021 |ATX Road to Recovery| “Avoiding Meltdown” “Amy Simmons & her company stand strong as paragons of resiliency” By Paul Thompson
Original location address for Amy's Ice Cream Guadalupe & 35th
See the article for all detail of this inspirational story
Summary of Article
A great interview of “Amy Simmons, founder and proprietor of the iconic Amy’s Ice Creams” covering Amy’s business strategies and tactics that has the business looking forward to 2021 and beyond. “Simmons said” “’ It was really rough. You know, I definitely personally went through a little depression-I’m sure all of us did’”… But yeah, I feel like it’s a huge victory to still be here, and to actually be able to plan for 2021.”
With the pandemic fully hitting Austin in March 2020, just when the ice cream business gets a 50% boost in monthly revenue it’s not surprising that Amy’s revenue was down “27% year-over-year.” What were the keys to success? First, often forward-thinking investments play out for the long run, but in this case business expansion in ABIA, led to the development of an APP that then was augmented for curbside, delivered immediately (The APP) and was possibly crucial to adapting and surviving the pandemic. Having the airport expansion itself was otherwise another trouble as travel tanked. Second, government PPP (>$900K) helped retain all employees at existing wages. Thirdly, Amy’s policy of "Transparency" with employees helped the flow of cost-cutting ideas from staff and their ability to “stomach” tough decisions to suspend programs like “continuing education”. Simmons commented “It’s the team that kept our jobs (~300) alive” in the $10M business. Lastly, good business people manage cash flow and debt carefully “without its conservative financial approach and substantial cash savings, the sweet chain might have been in even more dire straights.”
Beyond the ledger, “Amy’s was told that it brought light into a dark time, and that getting ice cream brought a sense of normalcy.” Copy that !