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 aĂ˘Â€Âścustomer appreciation dayĂ˘Â€Âť to give out free ice cream and loot bags. Brenda and her business partners - her son Trevor, his wife Krissy and BrendaĂ˘Â€Â™s husband, Ed Dyke - have been operating TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Convenience on Hamilton Street in Labrador City since 2015. They have two other businesses in town as well: TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Mini Mart and High North. At TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Convenience, Brenda says they stock Ă˘Â€Âśeverything from a clap of thunder to a babyĂ˘Â€Â™s fart!Ă˘Â€Âť 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. Ă˘Â€ÂśThis store is also known for the candy,Ă˘Â€Âť Brenda says. Ă˘Â€ÂśWe 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.Ă˘Â€ÂťAnd like a good neighbour, Brenda says if a customer comes in looking for something they donĂ˘Â€Â™t have in stock, such as tea bags, Ă˘Â€ÂśIĂ˘Â€Â™ll go out back and grab a couple of tea bags and give to them, to hold them overĂ˘Â€Â¦ Or it could be a half a cup of sugar or a bit of spice, it could be anythingĂ˘Â€Â¦ Little things like that goes a long way with people.Ă˘Â€ÂťCustomer 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. Ă˘Â€ÂśOur staff decided from Day 1 to donate all their tips,Ă˘Â€Âť Brenda says. Ă˘Â€ÂśSince weĂ˘Â€Â™ve been opened weĂ˘Â€Â™ve probably given back about $6,000 to the community.Ă˘Â€Âť TheyĂ˘Â€Â™ve funded non-profits such as food banks and the womenĂ˘Â€Â™s shelter, local schools, Lions, hospital auxiliary, Scouts, Girl Guides and others. And at the end of the school year, TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Convenience donates certificates to the youngest graduates. Ă˘Â€ÂśThe 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.Ă˘Â€ÂťSpeaking of ice cream, what is it that makes TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Convenience soft serve the best in the province? Ă˘Â€ÂśThe ice cream that we serve here is just so creamy and thickĂ˘Â€Â¦ I donĂ˘Â€Â™t know even how to explain it. People just really, really love the ice cream here,Ă˘Â€Âť 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. ItĂ˘Â€Â™s 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. Ă˘Â€ÂśWe spend a fortune making sure that we keep it serviced because it produces such good ice cream.Ă˘Â€ÂťThe 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 TobinĂ˘Â€Â™s Convenience, 2019 Cone Wars Champion, to enjoy the best soft serve in Newfoundland and Labrador.