One of the country’s best-known names in dairy products has launched a chain of ice cream parlors.
The company behind the Monteverde brand, Productores de Monteverde S.A., has opened two outlets in the Central Valley, the first of a planned 15 across the country.
It marks the latest expansion for the company set up by several pacifist Quaker families who migrated to Costa Rica in the 1950s from the United States in protest of that nation’s draft for the war in Korea.
Luis Zamora, the company’s director of commercial development, explained that rather than just being merely ice cream parlors, the outlets, operating under the name Deli Shop, are being marketed as café-restaurants with an emphasis on ice cream.
He said the idea for the development grew out of the success of the Monteverdebranded restaurant situated on the Inter-American Highway 3 kilometers west of the Sardinal de Puntarenas exit, where the company’s range of ice creams proved a particular hit with customers.
“One of the most popular products on the menu appeared to be the ice creams,” he noted.
The fruits of the plan saw two stores swing open their doors last month, one in the center of Heredia, north of San José, and a second in Centro Commercial de Rivera in San Antonio de Belén, northwest of San José.
Zamora said the first phase of the expansion would see 15 outlets in place across Costa Rica by 2011, with further phases of development planned for beyond that date.
The company is currently studying the Santa Ana and Tres Ríos de Desamparados areas with a view to opening the next two stores at some point later this year.
In addition to a selection of 14 different flavored ice creams and four sorbet varieties, the parlors also stock a selection of coffees, sandwiches and other dessert items. Zamora stressed the recurring principle behind the outlets is Monteverde – the cloud forest in the north-central region of the country where the Quakers settled.
“The idea is Monteverde brand and origin – Monteverde products or products produced in Monteverde,” he said.
But Zamora also insisted the chain was unique, unlike potential competitors such as Pops.
“The concept is special. We are an (established) brand and more like a small restaurant, with sandwiches, coffees, desserts.”
The Quakers, most from the U.S. state of Alabama, arrived in Costa Rica in 1951, later setting up the original cheese factory under the Monteverde name in 1953.
The company states it follows the original principles – ethics and respect for the human race, among them – that led the founding members to abandon their homes in the United States.