A lot has changed in 30 years in Stephentown. Many of the business that were around then are gone, some replaced, but when you talk to Neil Gardner, he notes that the business climate in the town isn’t what it once was. One might think the Gardner’s would enjoy less competition, but Neil firmly believes business brings business, noting even the construction work on the new Cumberland Farms has brought to added revenue his way.
Neil and Sue Gardner opened their Ice Cream Stand in 1987, followed two years later by the Coffee Shop. Over the years, they have added a miniature golf and driving range, they have the laundromat and their farm. One might think that adds up to quite a bit, but Neil tells The Eastwick Press, they often have to take from one to help the other. One of their biggest cost factors being the same issue many small businesses face, health insurance. Neil notes that since the Affordable Health Care act became law, their costs have actually gone up more than $500.
With not to many jobs left in Stephentown, Sue says a lot of the residents leave each day for work in the Capital District or in the Berkshire’s, it makes for some quiet times during the week. But it can bustle on weekends, especially when snow flies and Jiminy Peak opens just across the boarder in Hancock. Summer can be busy too, with the Ice Cream and golf venues open, along with car shows once a month.
What helps make Gardner’s Coffee House special? It is truly the home cooking, particularly Sue’s variety of homemade soups. They also sell fresh grass fed meat at the shop. Neil looks at the soon to be re-opened Cumberland Farms as competition of course, but quickly points out you have a choice. That being between quick food and good food. The Gardner’s hope you will continue to choose good food.
Their Ice Cream and Coffee Shop is located on Route 22, just south of the intersection with Route 43.