During the first month of the semester, the Russell House Marble Slab Creamery usually ranks No. 1 nationally in sales, according to Alex Allen, the store’s manager. Allen also said it stays in the top 10 throughout the rest of the year due to the 1,000 cookies Gamecocks eat every day and the 20 pans of each ice cream flavor that are demolished each week.
Birthday cake and chocolate are the most popular ice cream flavors. Smoothies and shakes have been especially popular lately, and the new unlimited mix-ins have also brought more students through the door.
When the go-to ice cream joint moved from the second floor of Russell House to the first, the location’s sales tripled.
“College campuses are the perfect target audience for our brands,” said John Barber, chief development officer of Global Franchise Group in a press release. “Our co-branded Russell House location not only offers a wide variety of fresh made products, but cookie cakes and ice cream cakes are also available for on-campus celebrations.”
For Allen, a day at work usually begins at 6:30 a.m. When he arrives at the store, he takes inventory and gets the cookies ordered. Cookies are made at the Marble Slab Creamery location in the Vista and shipped to the USC location daily, and ice cream comes in almost as often.
“We make them fresh every day,” Allen said. “They’re not made in a factory. They’re not made, like, a week ago and sent here.”
After the deliveries are taken care of, Allen begins to set up the store.
“I make sure I’ve rotated all the mix-ins so the fresh ones are on top,” Allen said. “You’re not getting old M&M’s and stale cookies.”
Other employees begin to arrive starting at 8:30 a.m., and the store is usually open by 10 a.m. It is sometimes difficult to put everything away and get the new deliveries in before opening, Allen said.
Allen and his employees still spend a few hours preparing for the day, and business begins to pick up around noon or 1 p.m.
“From then on, it’s just trying to keep up with everybody. We usually have a line that turns the corner, which is great,” Allen said.
Throughout the day, the Marble Slab Creamery staff is constantly preparing more cookie cakes, which usually take 15 to 30 minutes to make. The location’s personal selling record is 23 entire cookie cakes in one day, not including individual slices and preorders.
“We usually have to have about three in reserve at a time, three whole cakes of slices and there’s eight slices each, just because we go through them so fast,” Allen said.
The busiest day of the week for the Marble Slab staff is Thursday, and Marble Slab Creamery employs 15 to 20 people at a time, most of which are students. Employees typically work three days a week.
Despite some long hours, Allen loves working at Marble Slab Creamery.
“I love interacting with students. It’s a lot of fun. I love the people I work with, they’re all great,” Allen said. “I used to work in a bar, so this isn’t too far from that.”