We had the good fortune of connecting with Stefanie Forte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stefanie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
We truly have a nostalgia based business, our goal is to provide “sweet trips down memory lane”. I began the company as retail only, selling antiques and vintage goods so I already had a strong base and sense of bringing nostalgia to my clientele. When we paired the existing business with the retro soda fountain feel in order to offer our ice cream we found out quickly that we had executed the perfect business model for our new brand.
Not only do we sell childhood memories (via our vintage retail) we also sell childhood memories via our old fashioned soda fountain when we serve up classic ice cream favorites.
What should our readers know about your business?
At A Cone to Pick we provide an experience. Anyone can scoop ice cream, there are hundreds of generic ice cream businesses in the state. How many of them are located in a 107 year old building, and in the middle of a beautiful historic town square? How many can serve up a classic root beer float or banana split at the counter of a retro soda fountain? That number will be much smaller, and that is why we are here. Ice cream aside, just visiting our shop you can have a few good flashbacks or chuckles at our incredible product lines and vintage offerings.
Were you a 70’s or 80’s baby? Great! You’ll love flipping through our vinyl or our comics. Were you a 50′ or a 60’s baby? Great! You will love looking at our vintage threads, or scanning our jukebox while you have a classic chocolate malt. We really don’t leave anyone out at A Cone to Pick.
I wouldn’t say that any part of our journey (and evolution from just antiques shop to full blown ice cream parlor) has been easy in any capacity. We made the decision to overhaul the company in January of 2020, and made our moves in early March of 2020. We all know what happened next right? Global pandemic! You want to talk about second guessing and self doubt! Not only did we think we were crazy for moving forward, everyone else did as well. We took advantage of the shut downs to completely renovate the space in a major major way.
We re-opened for business in July of 2020 and it has been challenging, but full of pleasant surprises as well. I am not sure I would have done it any differently in all honesty.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I may be somewhat biased, but my Main Street neighbors are incredible. I would take my friend out for some great eats at Queenie’s, or Local on North. Caffeine stop at Bizarre Coffee is an absolute must.
After our bellies were full we would walk over to the coolest art gallery I have personally ever visited, Menagerie on Main. The local art there is unbelievable. We would catch a play, comedy show, or throwback movie in the historic theater in town. The city itself hosts a lot of neat events and local music so there is never a dull moment.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My father gave me my love for antique collecting (and for being my own boss). He is one of my biggest fans, and his support for “whatever comes next” for me has been extremely motivational. I also have to mention my husband Nick, he takes all of my crazy ideas and visions and physically builds them out for me. He is incredibly creative, and he is the math and budget master that I need to help balance out my big ideas.
Terri Starnes Photography