Talking with Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Columbus-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

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Following Her Ice Cream Dreams

Every kid loves ice cream. Jeni Britton Bauer just loved it a little more growing up. Ever since she was 10 years old, she wanted to be an ice cream maker. She sure did follow through on that dream.

Jeni’s pints are sold in all Market District stores and most Giant Eagle stores plus, there are has Scoop Shops across the country. It’s safe to say she’s been successful. How did she do it? Like her amazing artisanal pints, we wanted to get the bottom of it. Needless to say, we were thrilled when she stopped by to tell us what makes her ice cream and company so splendid.

“I spend a lot of time in our test kitchen where I get together with our chefs and try to tell stories through ice cream,” she said. “We might be inspired by an ingredient a farmer brings us, pop culture, definitely history, sometimes music. And, we just get in there and start making things.”

The sweet fruitiness of Brambleberry Crisp, the caffeinated kick of Cold Brew with Coconut Cream and the rich decadence of Darkest Chocolate are all crafted with care. They’re the product of plenty of brainstorming and taste testing, which never really feels like work. We are talking about ice cream after all.

“It’s a lot of fun. We create the most beautiful ice cream we possibly can then we gather around and taste it. In the end, the ice cream has to be absolutely delicious before it goes to stores.”

Jeni is quick to point out that while great ingredients are the foundation of every pint, it’s even more important that they’re sourced in a way that supports something Jeni loves even more than ice cream: community.

“Our ice cream is absolutely lush and beautiful because of our dairy partners and all of the makers and growers we work with. We like working directly with our growers in Ohio and beyond. Even internationally we work to be within one or two degrees of separation from the people who are actually growing things for us. We make better ice cream when we know the people we’re working with and we also support them and their families.”

Jeni’s helps support communities by making fellowship and sustainable stewardship equal parts of the mix. From the Ohio dairy farmers who provide grass-grazed milk to Fair Trade organic Vanilla farmed in Africa, Jeni’s goes straight to the source, not just to buy supplies, but to form bonds with individuals. Because that may be what ice cream does best: it brings people together.

“It always goes back to service. That’s the most important and most fun part of what we do. We think of our ice cream company as a community and we serve each other. Whether it’s our strawberry growers or dairy families. And then we serve our customers and partners like Giant Eagle. We exist to serve our customer and to serve our makers and growers.”

The commitment to serving communities we all call home is also found in every store, where Jeni’s goal of reaching zero waste is within reach thanks to their use of reusable, recyclable and compostable materials.

“We believe business can be a powerful force for good. That’s why we have sustainability efforts all across our company.”

What started as a simple love for ice cream has evolved into a way to spread love to local communities and to care for the whole planet. That means you can indulge in as many scoops as you like without any guilt, right?

Find your favorite flavor of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at your local store.

Interview with Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams