Rich Farm Ice Cream set to open at Brookfield Village
The wait is almost over for Mark DePaolis and Rich Farm Ice Cream.
DePaolis was one of the first tenants to sign on at Brookfield Village, a mixed-use development on Federal Road at the Four Corners area of Brookfield. He waited patiently and marveled at the progress as the old buildings came down and new ones went up.
DePaolis will open his ice cream shop on Monday as Phase I of Brookfield Village is nearly complete. While most of the residential units are already occupied, Rich Farm will be the second retail tenant to open. Subway opened earlier this month.
“I love the location. I just had to wait until it was ready,” he said. “I love what they are doing with this area and their long-term plans. It will be a destination for this area.”
The Brookfield shop will be the first Rich Farm Ice Cream franchise to open in Connecticut. Dave and Dawn Rich opened the original Rich Farm Ice Cream in Oxford on July 3, 1994, and the business has become an institution, drawing customers from miles around.
Another location opened in Placentia, Calif., two years ago and it was named that city’s New Business of the Year for 2016.
Dave Rich said he does not have a number in mind for how many franchises he would like to open, but said he is more interested in having stores out of state. He may allow for one more in Connecticut, he said, but not near Oxford or Brookfield.
The farm in Oxford has been named a Dairy Farm of Distinction for “beauty and high milk quality” from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
Rich said he plans to attend Monday’s opening of Rich Farm Ice Cream in Brookfield. “We’re excited for him (DePaolis),” he said. “It seems like there’s a lot of interest in it. He’ll do well.”
DePaolis got his final inspections this week and is eagerly anticipating Monday’s opening. DePaolis worked in corporate America for 16 years before his position was eliminated. He wanted to get out of that world and he and his wife Lisa sought out other opportunities.
“We narrowed it down and decided on this. This was everything we wanted,” the Newtown resident said. “I’ve had Rich Farm ice cream and I know the quality is off the charts. People know the name Rich Farm, so that’s a good start.”
Rich Farm specializes in homemade hard ice cream with nearly 100 flavors, including 30 standard varieties and dozens of seasonal and rotating flavors. DePaolis said all of the ice cream will be made on site in Brookfield, not transported from Oxford. He said the shop will eventually offer soft serve, frozen yogurt, Italian ice and cakes.
“This place is really about the hard ice cream,” he said. “We spend a little more and give customers a product they want to come back for.”
The flavors of the day will be displayed on a chalkboard behind the counter. The store will have seating for about 20 people with room to add more tables and chairs if necessary, DePaolis said.
“There are no TVs. I want it to feel like you’re going back in time,” he said. “Our job is to make people happy.”
DePaolis hired 11 part-time employees to get the business running. Rich Farm Ice Cream will be open from noon to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
In addition to Subway and Rich Farm Ice Cream, Brookfield Village will also include an Italian restaurant, nail salon and clothing boutique. Phase II will include a patio and courtyard, in addition to two more buildings with residential and retail space.
“The town is thrilled to have the first Rich Farm franchise in Connecticut,” Betsy Paynter, economic and community development manager for Brookfield, said. “It’s a great enhancement to the area. It will be a nice complement for people walking along the trail and be an attraction for Town Center.”
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