Business leaders and fans react to Jeni's recall

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

When Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams announced a mandatory recall of all their products due to a listeria contamination, it was a shock for both patrons and retailers alike. The company's quick, transparent response to the contamination has created even more goodwill if that's possible. A nationwide outpouring of support in the form of Facebook comments, tweets and handwritten notes offered encouragement and promised support once the brand got back on its feet. We talked to retailers and small business owners about the situation, and one thing is clear: People want Jeni's to win.

Stacey Breidenstein of Liberty Heights Fresh in Salt Lake City

Never in my years working in the grocery industry have I had a retailer ask that we take a picture of a product in the garbage. There was a real sense of immediacy and caring about the safety. Most of the time they just send a fax and tell us to throw everything out, the difference here was the immediacy. They really covered their bases. I actually think they made the recall bigger than it was. You can really see who cares about quality and who doesn't put the bottom line ahead of quality and safety. It said so much other retailers came to help out. When a potential competitor comes to help, it speaks to what Jeni herself has built.

Heather Morris, owner/operator of Destination Donuts

I can't even fathom what they've had to go through, it would be catastrophic. Fortunately they have a lot of good people in the right places who were on point in handling the situation, but for a smaller brand it would have shut down business. They didn't necessarily have to put that much information out there, but they got ahead of it. They made it a point to show they were concerned about people's welfare. As a business owner, that is hard to do when you think about all the money your business would be hemorrhaging. It had the potential to close a business, but she did the right thing. Hopefully they'll bounce back and the scoop shop lines will be as long as usual.

Tom Winter,vice president of marketing at Dorothy Lane Market in Dayton

It's going to be tough for them to rebound financially, and it's going to take them a while to get back on their feet. We've had similar problems with our own meat department at one time. We took the same procedures Jeni's did, and we rebounded quite nicely.

Mikey Sorboro, owner/operator of Mikey's Late Night Slice

We brought them a bunch of pizzas after they [announced the recall] because we knew they'd be down in the dumps. If the company was a few years younger it could have killed them. It's scary for businesses like Late Night Slice; we don't have six weeks of cash standing around. But I think everybody has a connection with Jeni's. In Columbus, you have to take care of your own. People believe in what [Jeni's] does. We're all on the same team.

Notes from the "Wall of Encouragement"


@TheWorldByKimmy (official twitter of Netflix TV series "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt")



Thank you to @JenisIceCreams for your brave decision to put the safety of others first. We'll be the first in line when you return.

From Facebook

Never ate your ice cream before. Will be the only ice cream I buy when you get back up.

You will be back, and so will we.

I would ride into the mists of Avalon with Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

I'm a devoted disciple of the Church of Jeni. This was nothing more than a small snafu; Too week to shake my faith.