When Emack & Bolio’s Hong Kong opened its third outlet in Tsuen Wan this month, its launch promotion saw 500 ice creams being given away within minutes.
CEO James Gibson brought the US dessert brand to Hong Kong in October 2015, launching with a store in Central, soon followed by a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui.
He first came across the brand in Bangkok three years ago. Impressed with the quality of the product with its signature marshmallow cones, he was sure it would be a hit in Hong Kong, according to HK Foreign Direct Investment, the newsletter of Invest Hong Kong.
Gibson, who spent more than 20 years in the finance industry before starting his entrepreneurial journey, says Emack & Bolio’s is highly selective about locations.
“Our goal is not to expand too quickly, but instead to focus on creating a great ice-cream brand.
“We believe that by focusing on premium quality, further developing our broad range of flavours, and the continued introduction of innovative products and concepts, we can continue to offer a fun and rewarding ice cream experience in Hong Kong,” said Gibson.
Emack & Bolio’s was founded in Boston back in the 1970s by a music and civil rights attorney Bob Rook. His passion in Rock ‘n Roll music and ice cream has a great influence on Emack & Bolio’s in many ways, from creative flavour invention, to funky store design, to brand positioning as a modern and hipster ice cream parlour for people to gather and socialise. Emack & Bolio’s does not use any additives or milk with genetically induced hormones in their products.
The company ships the Boston-made ice cream directly to Hong Kong in order to maintain the quality. In addition to the 42 flavours available on its regular menu, a new flavour called “Fragrant Harbour” will be launched this summer specifically for Hong Kong customers.
Now, at the same time as exploring opportunities in Macau and Shenzhen, Gibson plans to expand the business by supplying restaurants and hotels, as well as catering for corporates and events.
Invest Hong Kong has been supporting Emack & Bolio’s with its set-up in the territory, providing publicity support, market insights and networking opportunities.