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Mt Tom's Homemade Ice Cream & Candy Store

The Cottage Street Cultural District Spotlight

I grew up in eastern Massachusetts, in a small town that shares similarities with my current hometown of Easthampton. I attended college in western Massachusetts and absolutely fell in love with the area. However, after graduating with an engineering degree, I bid farewell to the Pioneer Valley and returned to eastern Massachusetts to pursue a career in the tech industry. I started off in a large company and later joined a small startup. Unfortunately, the startup didn't succeed, leaving me jobless and facing the opportunity to reinvent myself. In that moment, I challenged myself to transform the humbling experience of being laid off into "the best thing that's ever happened to me."

Before diving back into job hunting, I decided to take some time for myself and embark on a period of travel. I indulged in more than a year of wanderlust and self-reflection, exploring the open roads of the United States and the beaches of Australia. However, eventually, the time came to return to reality. After a short job search in engineering, it became clear that my heart wasn't in it. I had always nurtured the desire to start my own business, and it felt like now or never. The question was, what kind of business would it be?

As fate would have it, after my year of travel, I found myself living with my recently retired parents, who had just sold their business—an ice cream shop. My dad had worked for large companies throughout his career until he finally decided it was time to make ice cream for himself. (Fun fact: He was the head ice cream flavor developer for Howard Johnson's during their glory days. It seems ice cream truly runs in my blood.)

Over breakfast conversations and cups of coffee, I eventually convinced my dad to help me start my own scoop shop. I scoured numerous towns in eastern Massachusetts in search of the perfect location for my envisioned ice cream shop. Just as I was losing hope of finding that ideal town, I found myself in western Massachusetts visiting an old friend from my corporate days. While enjoying drinks and a backyard fire, I shared my plan to open my own ice cream shop. She promptly exclaimed, "I know someone."

As they say, the rest is history. The next morning, I visited the future location of Mt Tom's Homemade Ice Cream and knew that 34 Cottage Street, Easthampton, was the perfect spot. That day was nearly twenty years ago, and it has been the adventure of a lifetime.

During my time in business school, I had the opportunity to meet a highly successful entrepreneur who shared a few tips on startups. Our conversation eventually turned to me, and he asked, "What kind of business would you like to start?" I nervously replied, "I'm not sure, something that brings happiness." He responded, "Well, that's a bit esoteric." I distinctly remember that word because at the time, I didn't know its meaning. Little did I know then what kind of business I would eventually establish. As it turned out, the business I started, which is now two decades old, does exactly that. To quote one of my friends from the ice cream shop, "We're not just selling ice cream. We're selling memories."

Mt Tom's Homemade Ice Cream and Candy Shop

34 Cottage Street, Easthampton

mttoms.com, 413-529-2929

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