Ben & Jerry Rancho Mirage

When Ben & Jerry’s announced its National Award winners at the Global Franchise Meeting January 15-18 in New Orleans, Louisiana, one Rancho Mirage man walked away with the Manager of the Year title. That’s no mean feat—and one that Jason Ackley (of Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop at The River) takes great pride in. Basically, this guy loves his company, loves his store, loves his customers, and—obviously—loves ice cream! With a high quality, delectable product with creative names like “The Tonight Dough Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Karamel Sutra,” “Chubby Hubby,” “Liz Lemon,”—and my absolutely crazy-making favorite, “Coconut Seven Layer Bar”—what’s not to love!

One thing I love more than Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is Jason himself. One visit to the store and it’s easy to see why he deserved this high honor. He, his broad smile, and his forever sunny disposition truly do make every customer feel like a personal friend, and his enthusiasm for the frozen goodies he peddles is unparalleled—and infectious. When I pop in—which is often—and Jason isn’t there, I’m actually bummed. Not that his staff isn’t wonderful. He has groomed them in his image, and has shepherded them all through six straight years of same store sales growth. Not surprising that this year, the corporation invited Jason to join its Manager Advisory Council team.

“Ben and Jerry’s at the River has taught me so much, because I carry with me the philosophy that Ben and Jerry’s instills in its staff,” says Jason, 26, who has been at the shop for almost eight years. “I started working for Ben and Jerry’s when I was in high school, and through the encouragement of Laurie Kettering, this franchise’s owner, I’m currently majoring in business with an emphasis in applied management. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Ben and Jerry’s in Vermont. It’s just proven to be a great company to work for all these years.”

If you feel like congratulating Jason in person, there’s no better day to do so than on April 14, from noon to 8:00 p.m., when he and his staff will be scooping free ice cream for customers—and taking donations for Guide Dogs of the Desert. Woof!

Ben&Jerry Rancho Mirage

www.benjerry.com/ranchomirage