By Megan Witos
Gelett Burgess may hope to never see a purple cow in his famous poem of the same name, but he would probably change his mind if he met Tom and Cindy Pearce.
The couple’s daughter, Katie, illustrated the poem in her kindergarten class. As Tom and Cindy Pearce sat in the family kitchen, trying to come up with a name for their new ice cream shop, the drawing caught their attention — the Pearces had found a name for their business. The drawing has a permanent place in the ice cream shop, proudly framed on one of the brightly colored walls, and Katie is now in college.
Purple Cow Ice Cream is located on Lawrenceville’s Historic Main Street. The shop opened on Aug. 21, 2010 and has provided fresh ice cream to Lawrenceville residents and students ever since, creating a great community atmosphere.
The Pearces had lived in Lawrenceville for nearly 30 years, but wanted to contribute something more to their neighborhood.
“We’ve always loved this town, but it needed something,” Cindy Pearce said.
They got the chance to add that something when the education service she worked for relocated to Minnesota and Cindy Pearce remained in Lawrenceville.
The couple realized this was their opportunity to embark on a new business venture. The ice cream shop down the street had closed two years prior and the Pearces felt they could fill that void.
“We didn’t know a thing about ice cream then,” Cindy Pearce said. “But we learned fast.”
It took almost a year for Purple Cow to open its doors after the licensing, registration and finding an ice cream distributor took place.
“We thought we would be open that Christmas, but we ended up missing that entire summer,” Tom Pearce said.
Once the business was up and running, Tom and Cindy Pearce were embraced by the community and received a great reaction to the ice cream, which is made fresh every week and is never mass-produced.
“It has been really well-received,” Tom Pearce said. “Customers even bring in family members visiting from out of town and often they walk out saying it was some of the best ice cream they’ve ever had.”
It is especially common for a lot of patrons to come in during the summer, which is the busiest season for Purple Cow.
On one occasion, Tom and Cindy Pearce recall an entire soccer camp coming into the shop for ice cream.
“They were lined up out the door and around thecorner of the store, and we just kept going through the line until we got to everyone,” Cindy Pearce said.
This kind of interaction with the community is the Pearce’s favorite part of owning Purple Cow.
“We’ve met a lot of great people,” Cindy Pearce said. “We have become friends with some of our customers. It’s so much fun. We’ve even been able to reconnect with some families we lost touch with.”
Purple Cow Ice Cream has 24 flavors for customers to choose from, including traditional favorites such as vanilla and chocolate. However, some of the best-selling flavors are Banana Oreo and the “Purple Cow,” which is a black raspberry ice cream with chocolate chips.
As for the Pearces, Cindy’s favorite ice creams are the coffee-flavored varieties such as Cappuccino Crunch and Coffee Mud Pie, while Tom Pearce prefers Chocolate Marshmallow or Monster Cookie, the latter of which has both Oreo and chocolate chip cookie pieces.
Although owning an ice cream shop was not always in the Pearces’ plans, they have embraced the opportunity and enjoy selling frozen treats while getting involved in various fundraisers and events around Lawrenceville.
The couple keeps this strong connection with the community by participating in charity events in town. They recently did a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) fundraiser at the local elementary school that their daughter attended, and are involved with Christine’s Hope for Kids, a charity started by friends of the couple whose daughter was killed in the earthquake in Haiti during a mission to help children.
“We try to give back as much as we can,” Cindy Pearce said.
Upcoming plans for Purple Cow include a fundraiser with Lawrenceville High School’s Operation Smile club, which is part of an international charity that helps treat children with facial deformities, and participation in the Lawrenceville Jubilee.
The Purple Cow is located at 2685 Main Street in Lawrenceville.
Printed in the 11/30/12 edition