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Feb 24, 2013 03:11 PM

Scream sorbet going out of business??!!!

Say it ain't so: My sister saw -- and photographed -- a sign at the Scream Sorbet stand at the Mountain View farmers market saying "stock up now, Scream is going out of business"

Anyone have the scoop (pardon the pun)?

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  1. Phoned and asked. "Yes we are, in March."

    1. Called the store. No date for closing has been set yet, but likely early March. Scream continues to look for new investors.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        maybe they sold Oriental carpets in their previous endeavor?

        1. re: poser

          Maybe. But unlike the carpet folks who got in trouble for perpetual "going out of business" promotions, Scream Sorbet is being pretty quiet about this. Nothing on its FB or twitter feed and it posts regularly.

          Here's the pitch from Scream Sorbet on the Investors' Circle,

      2. Scream Sorbet in Oakland is going out of business?

        1. The slightly longer answer is that we'll be closing down in early March unless our situation rapidly changes for the better. It's not a certain fate, but definitely the direction we are headed. We've gotten as far as we have based largely on the dedication of our employees, and while most of them are still with us, all of them have already been encouraged to line up other work.

          The most pressing problem is that at the beginning of February, Alameda County Health informed us (quite reasonably) that our permit to sell from the store was not going to be extended unless we submitted architectural plans within 30 days for legally required improvements. We've made no progress on this, don't really even know where to begin, but are certain we can't afford this project without outside funding.

          Slightly less pressing but still urgent, we've come through the winter with about $50K of unpaid bills. We've done our best to pay the smaller vendors we rely on (and who rely on us), but still owe some. And although some of these would be willing to grant us further credit, we don't feel comfortable running up our bill further with more purchases we may not be able to repay. Others (like the credit cards and store landlords) would really prefer their money now, and it will be difficult to continue without their blessing.

          Slightly farther out, we would still need to grow the business significantly (> 2x current sales) to reach financial stability. Every summer, our goal is to simply to figure out how to make it through the next winter. By our models, two more stores around the Bay Area would do it. Or possibly one more and a couple food trucks. Or maybe a couple trucks, lots of markets, and an awful lot of wholesale, catering, corporate campuses, and restaurants. But all of these require significant capital investment, and all would be more achievable by someone with more business experience and connections than we possess.

          So if you happen to know the right investor and/or the right person to help run the company, please send them our way. Soon, preferably.

          Nathan Kurz, (founder Scream Sorbet)

          21 Replies
          1. re: nkurz

            This is quite possibly the most honest and informative post I've ever seen by a business owner on Chowhound (maybe anywhere). Bravo for being upfront about what you need, and for your obvious insight into your own capabilities. Best of luck.

            1. re: nkurz

              Oh Nate, I am deeply sorry to hear this. I've always been supportive of Scream, and so thankful that you and your staff took such good care of us on our recent tour. I'll keep my eyes and ears open, but if things don't pull through for Scream, what's next on your horizon (or do you know yet)? I hope that you'll stay in touch. All my best, Rachelle

              1. re: nkurz

                I'm so sorry to hear this. It has been so wonderful to enjoy a truly delicious non-dairy ice cream, and the luscious sorbets that burst with fruit. Your products are amazing. I hope you can find the investors and business management experience you need to support your remarkable vision and talent.

                1. re: nkurz

                  I must say, I still miss Scream. It was hands down the best sorbet ever-a lactose intolerant person's dream. A year and a half later and I am still hoping you resurface, or teach a class, or write a cookbook.

                  1. re: Bella_Blueroll

                    You may want to try "Mr. Dewie's" cashew milk ice cream made in Oakland.


                    1. re: Mission

                      Thank you! I'll look for it tomorrow.

                      1. re: Mission

                        I looked for it in three places and finally found it at Berkeley Bowl. The coffee flavor is pretty good. I miss Scream's pistachio though, and their wonderfully lively fruit sorbets.

                        1. re: Bella_Blueroll

                          So funny--I actually just noticed this today for the first time! Just FYI, Whole Foods Oakland stocks it and it is on sale right now (though still $6 or $7, I think). They have several flavors each of the cashew milk and almond milk varieties.

                          1. re: artemis78

                            The Telegraph store didn't have it last weekend. Maybe they restocked. I am going to have to experiment making my own pistachio sorbet.

                            1. re: Bella_Blueroll

                              It may just be in Oakland--they have some deal where they stock a number of products made in Oakland (not sure if that is required by WF corporate or just a thing they do?) so I've often seen products there by smaller Oakland-based producers that are not in the other WF stores across the region. I only happened to notice that one because it was on sale (and my husband is a fan of non-dairy-based ice cream).

                              1. re: artemis78

                                The Oakland Whole Foods is the only one that has Firebrand bread.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  You can get Firebrand at WF in Oakland!?

                                    1. re: The Dive

                                      Yes, and it's actually not insanely marked up ($5 a loaf for all varieties). :) The challenge is that they sell out most days, except when Firebrand doesn't bring them enough bags and then they put the bread in Whole Foods bags and no one buys it. Bizarre since it's always in the same stand (with no other breads) but that's how we score our golden raisin fennel baguettes most of the time!

                                      1. re: artemis78

                                        The raisin baguettes often seem to be the only thing left, which for my purposes might as well be sold out.

                                        1. re: artemis78

                                          When do they tend to sell out by? I was just saying the other day at Brotzeit while eating a piece of bread -- why can't I get this at home? Perfect.

                                          1. re: The Dive

                                            Varies. I've gone in after 8pm and there was still sourdough and whole wheat.

                                            1. re: The Dive

                                              Depends, as Robert said--on weekdays we usually stop around 6:30-7 and I'd say about a third of the time they're out of everything, another third of the time they have an odd pretzel or sourdough baguette left but not whatever we were in search of, and the rest of the time we manage to get what we came for (usually raisin, olive, or rye--but sometimes it's the only thing left, too!) They do collapse the display (it's by the bakery cold case near the rotisserie chicken) once it's mostly sold out and will stick what's left in a basket against the wall, so you sometimes have to look to find it. I've had much better luck on weekends, but that's usually earlier in the day, too. You can get their bread from Good Eggs now for about the same price, too--they offer a number of breads that WF doesn't stock.

                            2. re: Bella_Blueroll

                              I miss Scream, too. Today, in fact, I was having a craving for their Thai basil coconut.

                          2. Very sad to hear about this. The pistachio at Scream is my favorite frozen treat, and we've introduced several of our friends to the store. Really hope things turn around, but stocking up is now on the agenda. Best of luck.