Where it all began...In the Finger Lakes area of upper New York State are two small bustling towns, Endicott and Johnson City, home of the famous Endicott-Johnson Shoe factory, and of an American Legend – Pat Mitchell’s Endicott-style ice-cream.
Here, at Pat Mitchell’s ice cream plant, Keith Robbins learned how quality ice cream was produced. He hoped to join Pat in its manufacture. “Get your education first,” Pat told him, “and be sure to know what’s inside anything you make to sell to the public.”
Keith finished his undergraduate degree at Harper College in Binghamton, New York in 1976. Ice cream had become Keith’s fixation and he set his goals to become a producer of a quality product. In time he came to Hawaii to earn his graduate degree in nutrition at the University of Hawaii, School of Public Health. He experimented with natural ingredients and with every kind of flavor, including exotic local Hawaiian products. But he always relied upon the care and detail he had learned in Endicott and the basics in producing ice cream.
The dream becomes reality...Keith could find no product in the stores, markets, or restaurants of Hawaii that measured up to his standards of ice cream that was not only tasteful, but nutritious as well. So he decided to make his own and to market it himself.
On March 25, 1985, Keith Robbins opened his own ice cream parlor on Coyne Street, in the University area, a few blocks from the Manoa campus in Honolulu. The ice cream was manufactured, one flavor at a time, in the rear of the store. Bubbies Ice Cream was launched.
Choosing the name was no problem. Keith gave his product the family name of the woman who first introduced him to ice cream, his grandmother.
“Esther was a very special person to me and the love and respect I have for her is what drives us to produce a product suitable to honor her name. If I had been born in Hawaii, I would probably have called it ‘Tutu’s Ice Cream."
Within weeks after the first un-advertised opening, in a low-profile location, Bubbies reputation had grown. Several Honolulu restaurants placed orders and production was soon expanded to serve more than the over-the-counter single cone trade in the store. The natural flavor and texture of Bubbies was giving it a special reputation fast. Repeat customers spread the word. The little store with but ten parking stalls was getting known well beyond Manoa.
Nothing comes easy...Well on the way to storybook success, Bubbies Ice Cream Parlor was leveled by fire on September 2, 1986. Everything had to be started all over again. But, what could have been a devastating and fatal business experience turned, instead, into a challenge and, then, an opportunity to expand the base of the operation. By the time the store re-opened in January 1987, looking almost exactly as it had been before the fire, Keith had acquired a consistent and growing restaurant and hotel wholesale business which would now augment his retail trade.
Sweet success!In the several years since the fire, Bubbies Ice Cream has come to be served in many fine establishments in Hawaii. Some of the hotels and restaurants include: Halekulani Hotel, Sheraton Waikiki, Hyatt Regency, Ihilani Resort & Spa, Polynesian Cultural Center, Restaurant Suntory, Nobu Waikiki, Hiroshi, Roy's Waikiki, Big City Diner's, Imanas, Beard Papa's, Coffee Bean Leaf & Tea, Panda Express, and Foodland Markets.
Over the past several years Bubbies mochi ice creams have crossed the Pacific Ocean and Bubbies now ships out to the entire mainland in food service and retail packages. Notable restaurant and hotel establishments include: Nobu restaurants, Tao restaurants, Sushi Samba restaurants, Big Bowl restaurants, Matsuhisa, Nishino's, Sushi Wabi, Koi restaurants, MGM Grand Hotel, Aria Hotel, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Mirage Resort, Treasure Island and Beard Papa Sweet Shops. Gourmet retail stores include: Whole Food Markets, Dean & Deluca, Central Markets in Texas, Metropolitan Markets in Seattle, Agata & Valentina, Grace's Market, Dorothy Lane Markets, Morton Williams Markets, Hubbell & Hudson Market, Villarinas Pasta - Cheshire CT and City Markets in Alaska.
In addition, Bubbies mochi ice creams are shipped worldwide to such destinations as France/Europe, Dubai, El Salvador, Mexico, Singapore, Ukraine, Bahamas and soon to other locations around the globe.
A “Made-In-Hawaii” Ice Cream You’re proud to serve!
Meeting public demand.To handle the demands of a rapid growing number of wholesale customers, Keith designed and built a new and modern ice cream plant in Aiea, at 99-930 Iwaena Street. It opened for business in April, 1989 and, except for an occasional power shortage, hasn’t stopped since.
Keith supervises the entire operation at the Aiea Plant. Yet he finds time personally to follow up on wholesale customer’s presentation of the product. He checks out storage facilities and serving procedures at each restaurant kitchen, important in preserving uniform standards and accenting the consumer satisfaction in the end product, wherever in Hawaii it is ordered.
Great balls of … Happiness !Along with his incomparable Ice Creams & Sorbets, Bubbies also specializes and is the leader in Mochi Ice Creams. Imagine a harmonious combination of creamy ice cream wrapped in a sweetened rice confection, all resulting in a delectable bite-sized, one and a quarter ounce, ball of happiness. The perfect ending to an amazing meal or anytime for a sweet snack. These magnificent morsels are available in twenty flavors with a special flavor each month.
Increased demand pushed Keith to expand his facilities. In 1996 he moved the production facilities to its present location at 99-1267 Waiua Place in Aiea, Hawaii. A great deal of time and energy went into “tweeking” equipment so that the quality and integrity of Bubbies Ice Cream was maintained and even improved.
Traditional island flavors, as well as many old and popular ones, are included in the selection of ice creams Bubbie’s produces each day. Not all flavors are available at any one time, though certain ones are featured weekly for both retail customers and for wholesale customers throughout the State and the mainland.
Bubbies has babies !Bubbies sold its first franchise in 1996 and has since relocated the store to the Hawaii Kai area. The original store in Moilili, now 27 years old, is still company owned and scooping happiness 7 days a week. Now everyone everywhere can order Bubbies Ice Cream by visiting our website at www.bubbiesicecream.com.
Enjoy Bubbies Ice Cream, whenever and wherever you find it knowing it is made only from quality raw materials. But mostly because it tastes so good... possibly better than any other ice cream you have ever eaten.