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Scooping Up Business in Hong Kong

Boston ice cream parlour Emack and Bolio’s continues to expand presence and opens its third branch in Hong Kong

James Gibson first came across Emack & Bolio’s in Bangkok three years ago, and saw the popularity of its super-premium ice cream and signature marshmallow cones. Amazed by the quality of the ice cream, he was certain that this iconic American dessert brand would be a big hit in Hong Kong.

Scooping Up Business in Hong Kong

And he was right. The now CEO of Emack and Bolio’s Hong Kong brought the brand to Hong Kong in October 2015 and opened the first store in Central, which was soon followed by another branch in Tsim Sha Tsui. Shortly within two years, a new store was recently opened in Tsuen Wan where 500 ice creams were given away to celebrate the opening, and they were gone within minutes.

“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 who has spent over 20 years in the finance industry before his entrepreneurial journey began.

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. They ship the Boston-made ice cream directly to Hong Kong in order to maintain the quality. In addition to the 42 flavours available on their regular menu, a new flavour called “Fragrant Harbour” will be launched this summer specifically for Hong Kong customers.

In the midst of growth, Gibson stressed that Emack & Bolio’s was highly selective in their choice of location. He said, “Our goal is not to expand too quickly, but instead to focus on create a great Hong Kong ice cream brand that will continue to serve Hong Kong over the long term.” In parallel to exploring opportunities in Macau and Shenzhen, Gibson plans to expand the business by supplying restaurants, hotels, as well as corporates and events with their popular frozen products.

Gibson is impressed by the business friendly environment in Hong Kong. “It’s a very collaborative business community in Hong Kong and we’ve received excellent support from our local suppliers and service providers. The majority of organisations work very hard on our behalf and that helps to drive our success. We have really appreciated that support.” he remarked.

Invest Hong Kong has been supporting Emack & Bolio’s along its setup in Hong Kong, providing publicity support, market insights and networking opportunities. Gibson recalled, “The support from InvestHK has been great. It’s always useful to get InvestHK’s perspectives on the broader market landscape and outlook.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Founded in Boston in 1975 and now with over 20 stores in USA and 25 overseas stores
  • Three stores in Hong Kong located at Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan. First store in Central was opened in October 2015
  • Plans to expand business to Macau and Shenzhen

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