Welcome to Brooklyn Farmacy! A vortex that instantly transports you back in time to a magical place. A classic ice cream parlour. Soda jerks. The works! Ice cream floats are picture perfect, and made to share (two straws, please!), and banana splits are the size of your face (as they should be!) We’ve gone behind the scenes, and we’re here to spill the deets. With photos from our darling Cynthia Chung, there’s more!
SMP: Tell us a little about Brooklyn Farmacy!
Brooklyn Farmacy is a family run (brother and sister team) shop. We opened our doors Summer of 2010. Our soda fountain is housed in a 1920s apothecary corner store in Carroll Gardens, in Brooklyn, New York. We pride ourselves in bringing the soda fountain culture back to life, and are thrilled when we hear of soda fountains making a comeback all over the country.
SMP: What’s it like to own your own brick and mortar shop?
It’s like having a newborn that never grows up. That said, there is an incredible sense of satisfaction that comes with creating a place that people love to visit. We wear a lot of hats, some that fit us perfectly, and some that are more challenging. There is little separation between who we are and what we do. We bring our full selves to all of it.
SMP: The hardest thing about business ownership?
It’s like having a newborn that never grows up. :) Seriously, the hardest part of being a small business is that there are so many hats to wear. In a larger organization, there is a budge to have people overseeing everything from inventory to HR. In a small business, all of the same tasks apply, but there is not a budget big enough to hire individuals to oversee all of these positions. So we end up working almost all the time.
SMP: The best part about owning your own business?
Creating. Both of us love to create, and to invent new things. From sundaes to window displays to soda jerk lingo, we enjoy the process of creating.
SMP: Any tips for someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared to pour your heart and soul into what you do. Compensation comes in a variety of ways, not just in monetary ways. You have really love what you are doing, because there is no break when you own a business. You have to enjoy what you are doing, whether it be creating and inventing new things, to mopping the floor, because as a business owner, if the person whose job it is to mop the floor does a lousy job, chances are you won’t be able to turn a blind eye. It is always your job at the end of the day.
SMP: One thing that really made your business thrive?
When customers see that we love what we do. And, it doesn’t hurt that we are in the business of serving ice cream, which, hopefully, makes everyone happy.
SMP: One thing you wish you had done earlier?
Taken a bookkeeping course.
SMP: What’s your secret to success?
Our motto is, “How you do any thing is how you do every thing.” We try to bring our A game to every task in front of us. In some ways, not coming from the industry gives us license to create the way we think things should be done. This can create chaos sometimes, no doubt, but it also is an energy that keeps things alive.
SMP: 5 things you always keep in your pantry?
Vanilla, heavy cream, rainbow sprinkles, pretzel rods and (in the freezer) vanilla ice cream.
SMP: And most importantly: what’s the secret to a perfect sundae?
A perfect sundae, even if it includes five different toppings, should capture in every spoonful the right proportion of each flavor. There is nothing worse than being almost done with a sundae but the last bite doesn’t have enough whipped cream or caramel sauce. Proportions are every thing. And it should be beautiful. Creating a sundae is like carving a sculpture. From the scooping of the ice cream, to the layering of the whipped cream to the drizzling of the hot caramel, the sundae should present itself as completely irresistible to the eye.
Plus, one lucky SMPer will win a signed copy of their new cookbook! It’s mouthwatering. Seriously. Simply enter below!
Photographer: Cynthia Chung