Crème de la CREAM
How local ice cream entrepreneur Gus Shamieh '11 brought value and values to sweet treats
Ice cream enthusiasts know Baskin Robbins’ tagline by heart: “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. But alumnus Gus Shamieh’s CREAM takes ice cream to a whole new level. With ice sandwiches, ice cream tacos, ice cream waffles, and tons of toppings, sugar lovers can choose from any of about 3,000 combinations, customizing their treats to the Nth degree.
“My favorite combination is cookie dough ice cream between two snickerdoodle cookies, with caramel drizzled on top” says Samieh ’11, an international studies major. “But everyone has their own preferences. That’s the beauty of it all — customers choose whatever combination they desire.”
Shamieh founded CREAM — which stands for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me — with his family in 2010. The shop saw initial success with students in Berkeley, and has since grown to 26 stores in three states and two AT&T Park kiosks.
The CREAM creed
CREAM runs on four basic principles: Using premium quality ingredients, keeping prices affordable ($5 for a sandwich), having superior customer service, and creating a fun atmosphere. Dancing, singing, and serving up treats while beats drop from overhead speakers is common.
Shamieh tells the story of an older woman trying their product for the first time: Her eyes lit up, a smile spread across her face, and a bit of fudge dribbled from the corner of her mouth. She told Shamieh that the treat took her back to her childhood, to a simpler time. That’s the whole goal of CREAM: to bring happiness to their customers.
“When we began CREAM, we never expected it to grow to where it is today,” says Shamieh.
CREAM doesn’t just serve ice cream, it also delivers help. The company has contributed to various nonprofit and relief efforts: Stores in Florida donated 20 percent of sales over three days to Hurricane Irma relief efforts, Nevada stores did something similar after the Las Vegas mass shooting, and California stores the same after this fall's wildfires.