Monday, December 11, 2023

[ALERT] Local Ice Cream Shop Ending Operations

Atlantans will have fewer local ice cream options come 2024.  The owners of Four Fat Cows, a locally owned chain of ice cream and baked goods shops, announced they are closing this week after more than eight years in business.  

As of earlier this fall, the company, owned by Robyn Thompson and her adult son Brenden Higbee, operated six locations around metro Atlanta.  As of this week, only four remain in business with December 15 expected to be the final day for the remaining locations.  

Four Fat Cows offered a wide variety of ice cream and sorbet as well as amazingly flavorful gluten-free baked goods such as cookies and brownies.  Keeping with the family friendly theme, the shops also offered an assortment of games, toys and plush.  

The owners did not share a singular reason for the closure but indicated that COVID-19, inflation, and staffing challenges all contributed to the need to end operations.  In an effort to streamline operations and cut costs, the duo shuttered their Athens location earlier this year and their Dunwoody outpost earlier this summer.  Those efforts seemed not enough to continue as a going concern.  

In recent days the company has updated their website to display the below message:

"It is with a sad heart that we share this update with you. While we have cherished the incredible journey of establishing and operating seven locations, as well as providing catering and wholesale products, we have recently had to make the difficult decision to close some of our retail outlets.  ​  

The persistent impact of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, including ever-increasing, seemingly limitless operating costs, and the unfortunate closure of one of our primary suppliers, has compelled us to reevaluate our business strategy.  ​  

We want to express our deep commitment and gratitude for the opportunity to serve the communities in and around Atlanta over the past eight years. Your support has been invaluable to us, and we are sincerely thankful for the trust you've placed in our brand.  ​  

Thank you for being part of our story, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue serving you in innovative and exciting ways in the future."  

Despite the mention of the closure of "some retail outlets," and the forward-looking messaging, ToNeTo Atlanta has confirmed the entire company is closing, with Thompson looking to liquidate all merchandise and equipment via various Facebook Marketplace listings.  

Four Fat Cows last week vacated their short-lived "cart" at Politan Row at Colony Square in Midtown.  This week the company will cease operations at their remaining four locations: Marietta Square Market in Marietta, Pharr Road in Buckhead, North Main Street in Alpharetta and at Madison Yards in Reynoldstown.  

It has been a tough 18 or months for metro Atlanta ice cream makers.  

Greenwood Ice Cream, an Atlanta area mainstay for 70 years, closed in August 2022.  Greenwood had been a supplier of Four Fat Cows before the company was forced to bring all production in house. The Greenwood property is actively being marketed for sale.  

Just a few weeks after Greenwood's closure, High Road Craft Ice Cream also closed.  The firm was in September 2022 acquired at auction by PMC Financial Services Group LLC, one of its existing creditors, for $12 million.  It's unclear what PMC's plans were/are but High Road, along with sibling brands Ciao Bella and Helados La Neta, have all disappeared from store shelves.  

What is your favorite local ice cream? What would you like to see open in place of the former and soon be former Four Fat Cows shops in metro Atlanta?  What is your favorite food hall in metro Atlanta? 

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

it's weird that High Road, to this day, has a web presence that makes it ambiguous as to what their status is, although I've been told that they are defunct. I'm so glad I made it to the factory tour when they were close to Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what is "plush"?

Anonymous said...

The Alpharetta location has been closed at least since the Thanksgiving break. My husband and I stopped by craving some of their unique flavours only to find the shop in disarray and the ice cream freezers gone.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of them- four fat cows?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if their unit inside the Marietta Market was detrimental to them there. It was in a strange corner/corridor that didn’t have good visibility or have much foot traffic. I never had their product but my condolences to them.

Anonymous said...

their supplier went under.

Anonymous said...

The Alpharetta location was always closed. Even in the summer on busy weekends it was still closed. Have a bunch of coupons my daughter won at her school for free ice cream that won’t be used since we could never figure out when they were actually open! Not surprised by this news.

Anonymous said...

Surprised that High Road went out of business. Was a great treat to purchase their product.

Was introduced to them at a camp where one of the associates showed up with several five gallon containers of ice cream.

It was summer in Georgia and he wore a tuxedo and top hat.

Great stuff then and enjoyed it when I was able to find it at the store.

Health issues slowed down my ability to consume High Road products.

Wish all of the staff best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Yes but even before that, the Marietta one in particular seemed to struggle. Like the other poster said about the Alpharetta one, the Marietta one also had strange hours and closures during their normal open hours.

Anonymous said...

You have a a very low bar for what you call “weird.”

Anonymous said...

*flavors. This is America. We do not use that superfluous “u.”

Anonymous said...

We frequented Alpharetta for years and started in buckhead. If you never had it, you missed a real treat. I think they had toooo many high school kids working and not enough adults. I'm sure the margins prevented attractive salaries among other things. They will be missed.

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