Slow Food Columbus

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

714 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215

(Note: Our map only shows the High Street location of Jeni's. For a full list of locations, please visit their website.)

The splendid ice creams made by 2010 Terra Madre delegate and James Beard Award winner Jeni Britton Bauer have been getting attention nationwide, and with good reason: their sustainably-sourced ingredients, combined with Jeni's skill as a chef, make for some of the best ice cream on the planet. The rest of the country appears to agree: Jeni's little ice cream stand in the North Market has grown to more than a dozen scoop shops in seven cities nationwide and shows no signs of slowing down.

What is even striking than Jeni's success is how she has managed to achieve it. Most entrepreneurs take it as an article of faith that what is good for the business is good for the community. Jeni's, by contrast, is not willing to leave the welfare of the community entirely in the invisible hands of the market. Their commitment is simple but powerful: When they enter a new community or a new market, they seek to create a stronger community through their actions. Those actions include donations to charity—for the past two years, they've given over 30% of their net profits to charitable causes—as well as their recent certification as a B Corporation, which further cements their commitment to building their community.

Despite growing so quickly, Jeni's has maintained the sustainable sourcing that was fundamental to their success. They source about 85% of their ingredients locally, within 200 miles of production. They use local cream and grass-grazed milk for their base, certified non-GMO vegan sugar, certified non-GMO biodynamic yogurt, direct-trade chocolate and vanilla beans. They buy directly from farmers, to help ensure that those farmers stay in business. And their employees' salaries are based on living wage calculations rather than minimum wage.

Jeni's is a much bigger company than most independent sustainable-food restaurants, and they've reached a point at which they can potentially take action to make the world, or at least the parts they've reached so far, a better place. To their considerable credit, they're committed to doing exactly that. They've realized, to a degree that few businesses have, that succeeding in business and doing the right thing for one's community go hand in hand.

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