Monday, September 4, 2023

Flashback to 2011, when the Big Gay Ice Cream shop opened on 7th Street; and today's current legal battle

Labor Day 2011 saw the grand opening of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

It was a memorable shitshow with an entertainment lineup that featured an all-bassoon band, Bea Arthur lookalikes, Roller Derby stars and Anthony Bourdain dressed as a priest blessing the shop.

This was the very first storefront for the business that started with an ice cream truck. In the years that followed, the good-natured brand grew in popularity, and co-founders Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff (seen above in 2011) authored a cookbook on frozen treats, opened multiple outposts and launched a pint-sized product line in grocery stores. 

Today, however, just one shop remains in business ... and the future of the brand is in jeopardy. (The EV location never reopened after the Pause of 2020.)

This past week, The New York Times reported on a story we'll continue to follow:
On Friday, a founder and partner, Doug Quint, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court accusing another partner, Jon Chapski, of mismanaging the company and fraudulently collecting government loans during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, though, the good vibes evaporated. Today, after multiple missteps, unpaid debts and evictions, the company's future is murky. Mr. Quint is working in a Walgreens pharmacy in Pittsfield, Maine, where he grew up. Mr. Petroff works in human resources for a New York restaurant chain.

Both men say they hope to pull the company back from the brink and continue without Mr. Chapski, whom they hired as a financial adviser in 2011 and made a partner in 2016. The founders continued to develop new products and marketing efforts, but Mr. Chapski effectively ran the business.

Mr. Quint is seeking at least $4 million, claiming damages arising from breach of contract, fiduciary irresponsibility and "willful misconduct" by Mr. Chapski. (Mr. Petroff, who like Mr. Quint still retains a 35 percent ownership stake, has declined to be a party to the suit, citing the expense of legal representation, but said Mr. Quint had his "full support.")

In his lawsuit, Mr. Quint accuses Mr. Chapski of failing to pay landlords, vendors and the I.R.S.; concealing legal proceedings and business moves from him and Mr. Petroff; and collecting government loans during the pandemic while the stores remained closed and employees went unpaid. Public records show that the four New York City stores — each of which is a separate limited-liability corporation — received loans totaling more than $500,000.
Through a spokesperson, Chapski told the Times he'd respond to the lawsuit "when appropriate."

In an email to us over the weekend, Quint referred to the current situation as a "disaster." 


Eden Bee said...

That place was so fun.

Anonymous said...

I miss those days when they were open on 7th. Not only was it a novelty, but it was also a delicious product, which made a lot of people happy. Hope these two men can iron everything out with their other business partner.

BT said...

Ice cream selling is hard. The "old fashioned" shop that was on the south side of Tompkins Square Park comes to mind. It vanished, too.

mvd said...

What shop was that? I live on the block bordering the South side of the park, and I do not recall there having been an ice cream shop on this block.