Cone Wars Champion Revealed!
Cheers to the ChampionLabrador City business wins 2019 Downhome Cone Wars When you get talking to Brenda Tobin, it quickly becomes clear how her business won over the public vote in our summer 2019 Cone Wars: Search for a Soft Serve Hero contest. She loves her customers and they love her back. The first thing she and her partners did when they found out their soft serve had been voted best in the province was plan aâcustomer appreciation dayâ to give out free ice cream and loot bags. Brenda and her business partners - her son Trevor, his wife Krissy and Brendaâs husband, Ed Dyke - have been operating Tobinâs Convenience on Hamilton Street in Labrador City since 2015. They have two other businesses in town as well: Tobinâs Mini Mart and High North. At Tobinâs Convenience, Brenda says they stock âeverything from a clap of thunder to a babyâs fart!â Of course they sell pop and chips, bars and beer, lottery tickets and smokes, but they also sell homemade pizza, cold plates, sandwiches and other meals from their own kitchen, plus sweet treats from their bakery. âThis store is also known for the candy,â Brenda says. âWe have a large selection of retro candy [e.g. Gold Rush bubblegum nuggets, black licorice pipes, BB Bats the first candy ever put on a stick]. We have a big display of machines that have 30 kinds in them, I guess, and then we got a bunch that we bag also. So overall, we got roughly 100 different kinds of candy in stock all the time or most of the time.âAnd like a good neighbour, Brenda says if a customer comes in looking for something they donât have in stock, such as tea bags, âIâll go out back and grab a couple of tea bags and give to them, to hold them overâ¦ Or it could be a half a cup of sugar or a bit of spice, it could be anythingâ¦ Little things like that goes a long way with people.âCustomer service is key to the business, and Brenda says her staff deserves a lot of credit for their success and good reputation. They are friendly, efficient and generous. âOur staff decided from Day 1 to donate all their tips,â Brenda says. âSince weâve been opened weâve probably given back about $6,000 to the community.â Theyâve funded non-profits such as food banks and the womenâs shelter, local schools, Lions, hospital auxiliary, Scouts, Girl Guides and others. And at the end of the school year, Tobinâs Convenience donates certificates to the youngest graduates. âThe school passes those out to all the little kindergarteners and they come in and we take their card and we give them a free ice cream.âSpeaking of ice cream, what is it that makes Tobinâs Convenience soft serve the best in the province? âThe ice cream that we serve here is just so creamy and thickâ¦ I donât know even how to explain it. People just really, really love the ice cream here,â says Brenda. At the height of summer, there could be six girls working behind the counter serving ice cream to customers from Labrador City, Wabush, Churchill Falls and Fermont, Quebec. They have not one, but two soft serve machines, and Brenda admits that one makes the creamier soft serve that folks rave about. Itâs the older one that came with the business that Brenda and her partners bought. That store had been around since the 1980s, and was also known for amazing ice cream. âWe spend a fortune making sure that we keep it serviced because it produces such good ice cream.âThe soft serve machines are quiet now as the outside temperature dips and summer treats fade to memory. But come April, the ice cream will flow again and folks will flock to Tobinâs Convenience, 2019 Cone Wars Champion, to enjoy the best soft serve in Newfoundland and Labrador.