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Supply chain disruptions, inflation spell a rocky road for Northwoods ice cream shops


Northwoods ice cream shops have started serving up a taste of summer. But their sweet treats cost a little extra this year.

Inflation and supply chain disruptions have impacted even the coolest industries.

Ice cream parlors across the country are reporting problems maintaining enough ingredients, spoons, cups, lids and straws.

Even when they can get their hands on supplies, high shipping costs are forcing many places to raise prices.

It’s a challenge that’s touching ice cream shops from Florida to the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

“We’ve already had to raise our prices because costs have gone up on almost everything across the board,” says Russell Berg, marketing manager for the Windmill Ice Cream Shoppe in Tomahawk.

The Windmill officially opened Wednesday afternoon with a lineup of flavors including cherry cheesecake, bourbon pecan and white chocolate raspberry truffle.

But faced with rising prices for fuel, supplies and ingredients, scoops are bit pricier this year.

Berg says they might go up even more later in the season, but he’s hoping his supplies last.

After challenges last summer, he says the Windmill spent the winter stocking up on non-perishables to hit this season running.

“During the season last year, of course with supply chain issues and cargo ships waiting to be unloaded on the west coast and east coast, spoons and a lot of items come from China and other countries, so we decided to stock up,” he says.

On top of supply chain disruptions last summer, a worker shortage meant ice cream producers didn’t always have the labor to make enough ice cream to keep up with demand.

Berg hopes that won’t be the case this year, and for now, as temperatures climb, he says his delivery trucks continue to arrive on time in preparation for a sweet summer.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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