Friday, August 5, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] Atlanta Ice Cream Producer to Shutter After Seven Decades in Business

Atlanta will soon lose its longest running, continuously operating ice cream maker.  Greenwood Ice Cream, located at 4829 Peachtree Road in Chamblee, is due to close as soon as next week after seven decades in business.  George Greenwood, Sr. started the business in 1952 with current owner Mitchell Williams having purchased it in 1990. 

There has been no formal announcement either confirming or explaining the closure but an employee at the store indicated that Williams had sought to sell the business but after being unable to come to terms with any buyer, has opted to shutter it instead.  

Greenwood is currently selling all on-hand ice cream and related products, most of which have been reduced in price.  Plans call for sales to continue until all products are sold, which employees think will be sometime next week, based on current inventory and sales turn.  

According to sources familiar with Greenwood's recent activities as well as additional online research, the ice cream shop was on notice from the FDA due to several serious violations including the presence of Listeria.  

At its peak, Greenwood produced more than 200 varieties of ice cream, sorbet, Italian ice, frozen yogurt, gelato and other treats, supplying dozens of restaurants, hotels and retirement communities, primarily around the southeast.  Among Greenwood's notable local customers were The Colonnade in Atlanta, The Frosty Caboose in Chamblee, and Four Fat Cows, all of which were reportedly caught off guard by the company's closure and forced to find new suppliers.  In the case of Four Fat Cows, a locally owned ice cream shop with several locations, the company has pivoted to entirely house-made products such as their Lavender Honey and Nutella Cookie Dough ice creams.  

DeKalb County property records indicate that Greenwood Industries, Inc., an entity controlled by Williams, owns the property and building Greenwood Ice Cream occupies.  The property and its building which sit on just over one acre are currently valued at $1.2 million and are zoned C2 (General Commercial District).  

Keith Schroeder, James Beard Award-winning Chef and author, and wife Nicki started High Road Craft Ice Cream in Chamblee in 2010 but relocated to a larger facility in Marietta in 2014.  The couple added a second facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2020 to assist in the production of what are now three brands: High Road Craft Ice Cream, Helados La Neta, and Ciao Bella, as well as a robust private label business.  That said, it's unlikely the Schroeders would be interested in the obsolete Greenwood facility.  

Near Greenwood, the former home of Metropolitan Artifacts (4783 Peachtree Road), an antiques store, was heavily renovated last year and reopened last fall as the second location of Johns Creek-based Grapes & Grains, an upscale liquor store.  

Did you know Greenwood existed?  What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  What would you like to see happen to the current Greenwood site?

Please share your thoughts below.  

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

hate to say it, but I've bought from them. It's not bad--but not in the same league as High Road. I found found every flavor of Greenwoods to taste similar, not much flavor intensity. I guess it'll sit vacant forever like that 'browns auto garage' that was supposed to become another burger joint years ago.

Anonymous said...

Facility got shutdown, license yanked. Kept it from customers.

Ham said...

Yes, knew they existed, but not sure I ever tried the product. I guess they made the peppermint ice cream for the Colonnade

Anonymous said...

Greenwood has been in my life as long as I can remember. Always had a gallon of chocolate in the freezer when I was growing up. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I remember when restaurants would put Greenwood on their menus as a point of pride.

Anonymous said...

Best coconut ice cream ever!! Sad that the author of the article cares only about closure rather than respecting a long standing small business owner and giving the courtesy of contacting Greenwood directly to check facts. Mitchell and his team deserve the truth to be shared about his dedication and leadership with this longtime business.

VOL in Ga said...

Best coconut ice cream I’ve ever tasted!! Disappointed that this article was written with out the courtesy of contacting Greenwood directly to check facts. Mitchell has been a wonderful member of the community and his team has made a delicious and high quality product that will be missed!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed Greenwood’s ice cream at several Roswell restaurants. Sorry to see them shut down.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding Four Fat Cows owes Greenwood ice cream money for past purchases and was cut off. And that Highroad is under water. How odd that they are mentioned here.

Anonymous said...

I love Chocolate Fetish.
I have bought it at Greenwood’s and Frosty Caboose.

Anonymous said...

Peppermint for sure!! I’m so sorry they are shutting down.

Anonymous said...

The peppermint ice cream made Christmas in our household. My wife will sulk for months.

Anonymous said...

They displayed a "Now Hiring" at their entrance recently. I guess that's void now...

My Italian grandmother (rest her soul) used to host dinner parties featuring her incomparable spaghetti and meatballs. She would buy Greenwood's spumoni to serve for dessert.

That property is too small for a Mattress Firm. But they need another one because the nearest MF is almost 200 yards south!

Morelli's ice creams are very good also. If you have never tried Morelli's Coconut Jalapeno ice cream, you are missing out on something amazing. If you have tried it, you know what I'm saying..

Anonymous said...

I remember Ogeltree’s Grocery store selling their ice cream as a kid!!! A great loss to all us old timer’s

Anonymous said...

Yes! Also the ginger, and peppermint! Holy *cow* it was amazing !

Anonymous said...

I grew up with one of the former owners, Jack Street, in Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

What will The Commerce Club do without their Greenwood Ice Cream?

Anonymous said...

Greenwood ice cream on Varsity peach pie

Anonymous said...

Morelli‘s is way too expensive for what they serve for the money. I happen to know that Greenwood actually supplied not just more restaurants than you would think but they actually served most restaurants in the area. I wonder who will pick up that opportunity and run with it. Like one of the other posters I’m still waiting for the burger joint at Brown’s auto. It seems like the property solely exists to sell Christmas trees once a year. I drive past the location every day and my impression is that the property turned out to require much more of an investment just to make the building barely operational. The building is nowhere near inhabitable. My last comment is when I passed Greenwood you would never know there was a retail store on the premise, they could’ve done better at promoting such. here’s to hoping a local investor picks up Greenwood from his current owners and keeps the business alive.

Anonymous said...

wow sounds like a dessert made just for the old farts, to consume following food that makes you fart.

Anonymous said...

I encourage everybody to follow the link provided in this article to the FDA notice. in reading the details it seems as though every single part of their manufacturing business, machinery, refrigeration, freezers, environment, ventilation, even down to the miced in ingredients and the recipe ingredients in certain flavors, were not up to FDA code. according to this FDA notice there’s some flavors that had ingredients that are illegal to have an a ready to eat food product. The FDA notice is very detailed and thorough and cites all kinds of rules and regulations that are not meeting requirements and are dangerous to the public. Reading this document is really an eye-opener. It’s now clear to me the facility is so old and antiquated that it did not justify the investment required to fix all the violations and that is why they’re closing the doors, that together with the reputation they carved out for themselves with these FDA notices. It is no wonder that the fat cows have unpaid bills to Greenwood, under these circumstances I wouldn’t pay them a dime for what they’ve provided. It’s very sad to see this demise of such a great business. The fact is all business owners need to operate according to code and FDA regulations and in an upfront and honest way that serves the best interest of their customers, first, not their pocketbooks. The point at which the business became not viable based on the violations they should have just took out a small business administration loan and started over with building a brand new modern facility that is modeled after ice cream business best practices thus preparing the business for success for generations to come. I wish the current ownership the best and hope that at least they can license the name and recipes that are legal to another company or upstart.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and always bought a gallon of green tea and a gallon of pistachio to carry home in Monroe, GA.

Anonymous said...

Always a smartass in every crowd

Anonymous said...

Listeria is particularly dangerous for toddlers & the elderly they’re lucky this wasn’t a disaster

Anonymous said...

so interesting that when something like this hits a major companies such as bluebell or big olaf or Dole, Tyson or Fresh Express it makes national news yet this entire debacle was kept hush-hush from the Atlanta consumers even though the National headquarters of the CDC is literally just minutes away from the facility.

Anonymous said...

Nailed it! They came back in May and things were still not fixed. The plant was no longer allowed to make ice cream.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this FDA report does not evidence even a tiny bit of anything to do with dedication and leadership rather completely the opposite. In terms of fact checking Eli posted the link to the FDA report, I don’t think you can get any more factual than that. Contacting the proprietor would only yield a one-sided narrative. Folks need to stop detracting from dissenting voices.

Anonymous said...

anything will taste good if you put sugar on it. I disagree with your comment regarding quality product. It looks good and tastes good but clearly far more serious the actual quality in terms of contamination was just not there. Quit trying to defend something that turned out to be such an unfortunate situation and just own it. If these upstanding members of the community just owned the moment they would’ve posted a warning and an update on their website. I do wish them the best and agree with the other poster that they could have taken an SBA loan and did a rip and replace and start with a brand new facility that would take them well into the future.

StojBoj said...

I'm disappointed. I have purchased directly from the store, and also indirectly from the Frosty Caboose. I'll echo the comments about the peppermint flavor - best I've ever had.

As to the FDA report, I don't know the details, but as a former food production business owner, I can tell you that it's extremely difficult to comply with all the regulations. I'm in no way suggesting that we should overlook violations, just that 1) the reports almost always make things seem worse than they are, and 2) the regulations are often written for larger corporate producers who have the budgets to do all these things that smaller producers simply can't afford to do.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that the closing of the company. The FDA and local health departments are responsible for maintaining health and safety of our food supply.

I scanned the report and it seems like some of the issues were small but they still take capital to correct. I don't think we would want the FDA to tour our kitchens.

Enjoyed their products over the years and would stop by the store and pick up some ice cream and place it in a cooler and drive home.

Hopefully all of the employees will be able to get a new job soon.

Many food processing companies have elected to build super large plants in or to make products in large batches. Ice cream is no exception.

Food processing companies have to clean and sanitize all of the equipment used in the production process.

I will miss the product.

Anonymous said...

- THIS PLACE WAS A TRAINWRECK THE LAST FEW YEARS
- GREENWOOD FAILED TO LET SHOPS KNOW FDA RESULTS AND SHUTDOWN
- MANY SHOPS HAD TO SCRAMBLE TO STAY OPEN AND LEARN THEY MAY HAVE BEEN SERVING LISTERIA LADEN PRODUCTS TO THE PUBLIC

GOODBYE GREENWOOD - IT TAKES A LOT FOR THE FDA TO PULL YA PERMIT
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listeria

Anonymous said...

Agree!

Georgia Water Tanks said...

Looks like they were scraping by for several years. Seems weird, given their apparent market share.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you, none of the infractions are small when any one of them in whole or in part can cause death.

Vlad said...

I worked at Greenwood towards the end. The writing was on the walls. The facility was disgusting, moldy, water pooled everywhere allowing bacteria growth. I tried to tell them that they would eventually get shut down but my warnings were not heeded. That was just the main facility, the Norcross facility was one of the nastiest places I ever had the displeasure of working. Mitchell also had gotten a lot of money from PPP loan that he never put back into the company. Maybe the only thing he did with that money was pave the truck yard. They would use expired ingredients, leave things out and ignored until it putrified. Greenwood closing sucked, but the public health benefit of them gone can not be understated. GW was so bad, Dept. of Ag. used to bring new hires to train there. Oh and not to mention, when we were calling people to let them know we weren’t allowed to tell them we were closing. He wanted us to lie. Well, I didn’t. I told them exactly why we were closing down.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have no idea how disgusting that place was. A few infractions? Piled on for over 5 years.

Anonymous said...

No one will buy GE because FDA violations carry over tot the new owner.

Anonymous said...


it’s fascinating how several posters are defending the offending business practices, and another stating what wonderful people the ownership was. I am thankful for this last poster who confirms with their first hand account everything that’s in the report and every other comment on the blog. let me tell you that even without reporting concerns to management, the ownership and management themselves already knew how dire the situation was, they just chose to do nothing about it. In this case with the PPP they saw that as an exit strategy and made off with our tax dollars as so many others did. Some of the older folks that are former customers are still stuck in the “good old boy network” mentality and that just because they know a person or know of a person and just because they’ve used the product that both are infallible. I wish folks would quit promoting and rewarding failure and mediocrity. we need to stop giving people a pass and multiple chances to screw up and go back to rewarding real hard work and business ethics.

Anonymous said...

Another sad truth about where did the ppm money go???

Vlad said...

I agree, lots of comments excusing what happened in a way? Like, Mitchell screwed over so many people with his decisions. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that thousands of people have been affected economically by their closing. GW had the entire SE market. Small building, big shadow. When he had us calling folks, a lady in SC was so distraught. She expected her delivery that week. She told me she would have to most likely shut down if she couldn’t find a vendor. It broke my heart. He fired people that had worked there for 20-30 years with no sort of compensation nor did he pay out their vacation days. I can only hope karma does it’s thing and he faces some sort of consequence for it all. He had the money to update the facility, but he did not. The Dept of Ag. inspector straight up told me that it was one of the reasons they pulled his license. I was employed as a manager there for about two years and I’ll tell you right now, DoA, FDA, etc. don’t come multiple times within a six month span without them having a target on you. Regulations are there to protect public health. But to Mitchell, regulations were more so an inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

so shortsighted of the ownership, Sounds like they had a great brand, and a great following, great brand equity, and great employees, and he pissed it away because he didn’t have the vision or foresight to take out an SBA loan and build a smaller yet more efficient modern facility which would have reaped a return on investment almost immediately based on the huge following and reach of his brand.

I know that Publix manufactures their own ice cream ans frozen dessert products. I would suggest to the retailers impacted to try to investigate whether Publix has a private label or wholesale type business for their ice cream and dairy product. sight unseen I can guarantee you that Publix is completely up to code and turns a good profit on the frozen dessert product lines. I don’t need to see it to know it is fact because reputation is everything. until you give me a reason not to believe.

Anonymous said...

Gee, there was a peanut processing plant in Georgia that was not inspected by the State of Georgia Agricultural Department and they had roof leaks, water on the floor among other things.
Blue Bell ice cream had issues with a supplier of ingredients among others that caused a few problems with quality.

Both cases resulted in people who consumed the product and later passed.

GW report lists out a hand washing sink that drained to the floor and people could/walk through the water from the sink. An easy fix would be to pipe it to a proper drain.

I appreciate the comments from prior employees of GW.

They along with the customers who were given short notice of the closure got hung up to dry.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee I can honestly say that Mitchell Williams is hands down by far the worst, cheapest owner I've ever worked for, he cared nothing about his customers, had no regard for his employees, safety, and quality of the product, he had money for European vacations every year for himself and his family but nothing to put into the business or his employees, he is finally getting his comeuppance after all these years, karma is indeed a bitch, it's a damn shame because he took a good company and product and ran it into the ground and you can't believe a word he says because he is a compulsive liar, I personally heard him lie and cheat customers and employees regularly, unless he repents and restores all the money he cheated people out of he'll surely burn in Hell for how he treated people!!

Anonymous said...

I was going to post the very same question! It’s a part of the legacy of The Commerce Club. :-(

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Coming from a former employee. This place was bound to shut down. You people been eating tainted ice cream since 1990

Anonymous said...

Totally agreed

Anonymous said...

Mitchell Williams is a scam artist. All he cares about is his money. And screwing people over

Anonymous said...

Mitchell and his sidekick sister, are both liars and cons. They wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped them in the face. Sad because they once had a good product. The last few years, however, was beyond sketchy!

Anonymous said...

I am a customer that he lied to more times than I can count. It’s sad because his actions caused so many businesses issues and his employees jobless. He should be ashamed of himself!

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