Soft serve wrapped in airy cotton candy, shakes adorned with gummies, fluffy waffle cones, 23K gold-plated ice cream: Shock breaks ice cream tradition by adding funky treats to America’s favorite dessert. Shock Ice Cream, based in Westhampton Beach, New York, has been serving this community and those who travel from all over just to have a taste of their frozen delicacies for nearly 20 years.
Business partners Elyse Richman and Jeff Disick originally opened a women’s clothing store named Shock in 1986, which is located just up the road from the ice cream shop. There’s a third Shock store on the same street that opened its doors in 2000 to sell toys, baby gear, and furniture.
Richman was inspired to open Shock Ice Cream and Baby Shock when she was pregnant with her son Maxwell. Baby Shock is located on Main Street in Westhampton Beach with Shock Ice Cream just behind it. (Follow the colorful hopscotch from the street sidewalk towards the parlor.)
After naming each store Shock, it’s fair to say the owners favor the name, but why? Richman credited this to her co-founder Disick, who was diabetic and therefore often went into shock. The two were in a store called Shock while in Italy, and that’s the moment Richman knew the name for their potential store.
Richman and Disick were originally New York City-based wholesale manufacturers when they took a drive out to Westhampton Beach on a snowy February day. The two discovered a space for rent and they jumped at the opportunity. Today, all three Shock stores are still operating and thriving. Shock Ice Cream has made its mark on this community and has a well-known name. Celebrities such as Ethan Hawke, Cindy Crawford, Susan Lucci, Liza Minnelli, Eli Manning and Adam Sandler have visited the ice cream parlor.
The carnival cone, which is comprised of soft serve wrapped in a swirl of cotton candy, was Richman’s original idea. The owner of Shock Ice Cream spontaneously combined the two after seeing their respective machines next to each other. She posted a picture of the pretty, vibrant treat on Instagram and a food blogger came in the same day, who also snapped a picture of the carnival cone. The INSIDER, a publication that covers anything from news to culture to food, commented on the food blogger’s post, asking for details on where this carnival cone is to be found. The next day, she came in and shot a short video for the INSIDER which has received millions of views, all before Richman even had the time to officially add the carnival cone to the menu.
After this social media madness, Richman said her business doubled every day that August. People from all over Long Island and even New York City were driving out to have a taste of Shock Ice Cream’s inventive treats.
Richman attributed the exposure and increase in business to social media. She had no hand in it, for the right people happened to stumble upon her carnival cone creation. Richman said people often look to social media platforms to dictate their next stop.
“In this day in age of fast everything, fast fashion, fast food, it’s just a fast world. You see something, you want it, and you will go to find it. You’ll travel, you’ll look up if you’re on vacation on Yelp or Instagram, and it’s going to guide you where you want to go.”
When asked her favorite part of owning and operating Shock Ice Cream, Richman expressed her long-time affinity for innovation in both clothing and ice cream.
With competing in one of the summer’s hottest vacation destinations, Richman explained what separates Shock Ice Cream from other ice cream parlors.
“The uniqueness of what we do is we’re not a franchise. We can do whatever we want, and no one dictates to me what I can do, what I can sell, how I can display it, how I need to market it. I can do whatever I want.”
Shock Ice Cream is now available with Uber Eats, a food delivery service.