Cream of the crop

Kasey Cowan

Photo By Evan Tuchinsky

When a customer told Kasey Cowan about a contest on Good Morning America, Cowan had a feeling her shop would do well. The morning news show was looking for the best ice cream in America, and for 70 years, Shubert’s has lured loyal customers to the edge of downtown Chico, on Seventh Street near Main. The day GMA planned to announce the winner happened to be Sunday (May 25), when Shubert’s would celebrate its 70th anniversary, so it seemed like fate. “I thought we’re going to win it,” said Cowan, who owns and operates the store with her brother, Nathan Pulliam. Not quite—Shubert’s placed second, behind Moomer’s of Traverse City, Mich. Still, second out of 500 puts Cowan’s shop in the cream of the crop.

How does it feel to have the No. 2 ice cream shop in the country?

Pretty amazing, I guess—indescribable. It’s something we never dreamed of happening. Once we knew we made it into the final four, we knew we’d have a good chance. It’s been a ride!

What was that ride like?

They called me at 3 o’clock Tuesday [May 13] and said, “We’ll be there to film tomorrow at noon.” That’s less than 24 hours! They came at 5, so we had about 26 hours. We put the word out and a lot of people came.

How did you get chosen?

They came Wednesday and it aired Sunday. They opened up the online polls Sunday to Friday. The decision [combined] the online vote and the personalities from the show’s opinions.

Which flavor did they try?

Chico Mint. We sent them 12 half-gallons.

Are you bitter that you didn’t win?

I said all along that if anybody but us wins, I’d want them to win. They’re mom and pop like us, very involved in their community. They have a neat place and are definitely deserving. [Though] I haven’t tried their ice cream …

What’s the secret to Shubert’s success?

We’ve been here 70 years—same location, same family, same machine we started with (pictured). The secret is the fact that the family is still running it and is here every day doing it hands-on. All the recipes and all the love put into the product is from the family, so there’s consistency and tradition.