Who markets the best ice cream in town?

As a smaller town, Wilmington has a lot of competition between businesses. Kilwin’s has always been known as a “go-to” location for ice cream in Wilmington and a popular tourist spot.  This past summer the ice cream industry grew by one, adding the Fuzzy Peach into the choices for a cool treat on a hot day. The Fuzzy Peach is located less than a mile from UNCW and this is their only location. Both Coldstone and Kilwin’s are chains and have locations across America.

Coldstone is the largest of the three and it has stores internationally. Their marketing strategy involves television commercials, promotional coupons, direct marketing at UNCW events like the Involvement Carnival. They are a sponsor for the UNCW Athletic Department. On our basketball tickets, you will find a coupon provided by Coldstone. They set themselves apart from the competition because they have lots of different combinations such as “Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some” and “That’s How I Roll”.  You can see their entire signature creations made right in front of you and they have pictures of each combo on their website. Their portion sizes are called “Like It” “Love It” and “Gotta Have It”. They also sell ice cream sundaes, smoothies, and pre-made ice cream cakes. This company is also known for their quirky songs that they sing when you walk in the door and when you leave them a tip. You can hear the same songs at each location, so you know that you’re walking into a Coldstone when you open the door.

The Fuzzy Peach opened in May of 2010 and already has a lot of brand recognition. Their t-shirts and facebook page are almost as popular as their low fat yogurt.  The frozen yogurt bar allows you to choose the toppings that you want and how much of each topping you want on your yogurt.  The Fuzzy Peach is the only frozen yogurt bar in Wilmington, so that makes them stand out from their completion. The price is calculated by the weight of your bowl and toppings. Their slogan is, “Providing Wilmington with a healthy dessert alternative.  On the website, they have a comparison of why they are better than their competition, which includes Dairy Queen and Baskin Robbins.  Their marketing strategies include t-shirts with their logo, which allows people to recognize the brand since the logo is a peach. They also use direct marketing by passing out coupons, stickers, and shot glasses at events.  They come to UNCW’s Involvement Carnival in the beginning of the year and give out samples.

Kilwin’s is a downtown Wilmington classic. It is a common tourist location. They sell ice cream, chocolates, caramel apples, fudge, and more. Kilwin’s makes their own traditional waffle cones, which lures customers in from their scent. Kilwin’s creates an exciting experience by creating the cones right in front of you. It ads a personal element of trust, since you can see the people hard at work on your waffle cone. They rely mostly on word of mouth marketing, as well as social media and their website. They draw people into the store because they bake their own waffle cones and the aroma drags people in by their noses. They are not as big as Cold Stone, only located in 15 states with only 9 locations in North Carolina.

Who do you think has the best marketing strategy? The winner is…….The Fuzzy Peach! We think this because they employ the most promotional strategies. They handed out coupons and got customer input on what the best flavor is at UNCW’s 2010 Beach Blast. The store has been open for less than a year and a second location is already in the making. We look forward to seeing how much The Fuzzy Peach grows in the coming years.

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23 thoughts on “Who markets the best ice cream in town?

  1. I’m an international student and I’m here now for 3 weeks and I have to say I’ve been to Fuzzy Peach last week. I think that in general satisfied customers are the best marketing strategy. A few American friends told me about Fuzzy Peach so I made the decision to give it a try. Also the (fat free) frozen yogurt distinction is a pretty good choice in this market, especialy for people who love to eat but don’t want to be fat (who doesn’t nowadays?).

    Maybe it’s a little too soon to conclude who has the best marketing strategy, because Fuzzy Peach opened in May 2010. They are still in the phase that their brand has to establish. The other companies are here for awhile now so they have to invest in another marketingstrategy instead of using old material and promotional stuff. I don’t really know if there is really a competition between the different ice cream bars, maybe they all serve a different group of customers who needs a different marketing approach. I don’t know what the decision is based on to conclude that Fuzzy Peach has the best marketing strategy, are there any figures or sources?

    • I have been to Fuzzy Peach about five times this semester and I would definitely agree that their frozen yogurt is a guilt-free treat. Like you said I am one of those people who love to eat but don’t want to get fat. Since their treats are low-fat and topped with healthy fruit I can’t help but splurge everyone in while. In addition to their great tasting treats I think they have done a pretty good job of marketing themselves. They haven’t been here a year yet and I am seeing more and more people wearing their cute and colorful fuzzy peach t-shirts around campus; definitely a good eye catcher and marketing tactic. As for their biggest competitor, Coldstone, I have not seen anyone wear one of their t-shits. So one point Fuzzy Peach! Places like Coldstone that are nationally known will naturally get good advertising opportunities such as offering free ice cream on the back of UNCW basketball tickets. So the fact the Fuzzy Peach is able to compete and bring fresh marketing ideas shows they have potential to become the most successful ice cream in town. Not to mention they have built up enough revenue to open a second store!

  2. I love this! I agree with that Fuzzy Peach has done the best marketing job by using promotional events. This, in turn, leads to positive word of mouth (like your blog)! I also think that Coldstone has sort of let me down over the years. I loved it at first because it was the hyped brand. i.e. Employees sing for tips, and the add ins in front of you are exciting. However, it doesn’t taste any better than my Edy’s from the grocery store. A gallon store bought is as much as a”Like it”. What’s there to like about that? They also only offer a few low fat alternatives. I love that the Fuzzy Peach offers healthy alternatives. I think people are becoming more health conscious these days due to a rise in obesity amongst other health concerns. Fuzzy Peach knows that and incorporates the slogan into the events. That is bound to draw in the physically fit and those who strive to be so!

  3. I think the Fuzzy Peach does a good local job of marketing. It has to, or else it’ll be forced to close its doors. Having to compete against chain stores is tough when you’re opening up a similar business to those already well-established having the “pioneer effect”. The sole fact that they are opening a second store is good evidence that they are doing well. When you have chains like Dairy Queen and Coldstone, who are known nationally and internationally, it becomes the same everywhere you go. You know what to expect. At the Fuzzy Peach, it’s quite different from what I’ve heard. Their marketing strategies are paying off and they’ll only continue to grow.

    -KLB

  4. When I first heard last spring that a self-serve frozen yogurt place was opening in Wilmington, I was mad that someone had beat me to it. My friend and I used to fantasize about opening our own frozen yogurt place in Wilmington (preferably downtown or near the beach) and we envisioned how successful it would be based on the incredible success that similar self-serve frozen yogurt bar-type places had in our hometowns. I am from Washington D.C., where the frozen yogurt bar trend really took off about two years ago. I remember how obsessed my friends and I became with frozen yogurt the summer that “Fro-zen”, “Sweetgreen”, and “Yogi Berry” all opened. There’s something about controlling the amount of yogurt you get and actually doing it yourself that makes the entire experience more enjoyable. The fun and eclectic topping choices that these fro-yo places (including Fuzzy Peach) offer also add to the personal enjoyment. Depending on my mood, I’ll either get plain yogurt with fresh fruit on top or plain yogurt with fruity pebbles, angel food cake, white chocolate chips, crushed cookies, and any other nostalgic childhood food item on top. I think Fuzzy Peach was destined for success by the very nature of their business venture since Wilmington was lacking this kind of business. The Fuzzy Peach team did an excellent job of executing their vision. They have created a bright, cheerful, whimsical, fun and delicious place where people of all ages like to come no matter how cold it is outside.

  5. The Fuzzy Peach is amazing! I think that their quality of frozen yogurt is much higher than Kilwin’s and Coldstone’s ice cream combined. I have been to The Fuzzy Peach several times already this semester, and I don’t feel terrible afterwards. I usually get their peach yogurt and then add all the fruit on top on it, which makes a delicious desert! Their marketing strategies make them well known for their healthy options for desert too. I like the fact that they hand out cards and each time I go there I get a stamp. On the tenth time, I would get a free desert. This makes me want to go back there, because it is great and eventually I would get one free. I also like their t-shirts. I bought one when they first opened last year, and they already have new styles and colors because they became so popular. Having attractive t-shirts can be a very successful marketing strategy and it worked will for them.

  6. While I agree that Fuzzy Peach has done the best job marketing by using word of mouth, passing out items with there name on it, and the use of their webpage and facebook page. But however in my opinion it is over hyped. I thing that Coldstone and Kilwins are a lot better. There is one ice cream place that is also unique to Wilmington like the Fuzzy Peach and that is Boombalatti’s. It is a family run shop that has makes their ice cream in the store and makes it fresh everyday. The have the best ice cream in town in my opinion.

  7. I would like to voice my love and agreement that Fuzzy Peach is the local ice cream / frozen yogurt winner for the Wilmington area because of its location. Location is everything when opening a business and maintaining its popularity and overall business. Kilwin’s in downtown Wilmington is more of a family atmosphere, a couple’s date night, or the elderly going for a splurge. Kilwin’s is a traditional ice cream shop and everything you want and imagine when it comes to thinking classic ice cream parlor. Coldstone attempts at the home-style feel that Kilwin’s conveys (even though both are chain ice cream shops), Coldstone is more nationally known and your initial thought when you think of the definition of a brand; commercials, billboards, coupons online, etc. They both can be found all over the United States and are both fairly expensive places to feed your craving for the sweet. Fuzzy Peach is geared towards the college crowd. The bright and vibrant colors of the shop scream youth, the pick your own toppings and amount yells out at our inner independence, of which we are all striving to achieve, and most importantly, it is cheaper and more for your money than any of the other ice cream locations in the area.

  8. I definitely agree that The Fuzzy Peach is taking over the ice cream industry here in Wilmington. Although I am not an avid sweets eater, I do enjoy some ice cream from time-to-time. I have tried DQ, Bruster’s, Baskin Robbins, Coldstone, etc., but have found them all to be sub-par. I felt Fuzzy Peach was basically an upgrated Coldstone. As a customer, you could still get your “add-ins” right in front of you but in a healthier frozen yogurt. When it is warmer out, I will usually make a weekly trip to the spot.

    I also agree that Fuzzy Peach has the most effective marketing plan of the bunch. They are strategically located near campus, and they use this to their advantage. One of their biggest target audiences are the UNCW students. They put flyers and coupons all around campus and are visible at campus events like the involvement carnival. I know that after receiving a Fuzzy Peace coupon, my friends and I will ride our bikes down Racine that night to treat ourselves. I believe they are trying to broaden their target audience by opening a second location at Porter’s Neck. This is obviously a more upscale area with the Porter’s Neck gated community and country club right there. If you have the students and the wealthier community supporting your business here in Wilmington, it would seem you are on a good track to be very successful.

  9. I agree with the idea that Fuzzy Peach has a great marketing strategy with their promotional events and their bright t-shirts; however I feel as if there are other brands in the Wilmington area not mentioned. Rita’s Italian ice and Khols down on Wrightsville beach are also competing with these other ice cream brands. Although all of these brands are competing against each other with different marketing techniques, it may be hard to truly distinguish which has the best marketing strategy because they are all very different venues. Also, their locations have a lot to do with where they market and where consumers are going to choose. For example, if you are enjoying Front street and walking along the river downtown and decide you want ice cream, chances are you will not get in the car and drive all the way to Fuzzy Peach when Kilwin’s is right there. And vice versa: if you are on Wrightsville beach you probably won’t go downtown just for ice cream when you have several closer locations. There are many different aspects that go into the marketing strategies of these different locations that should definitely be taken into account.

  10. Promoting is how all great businesses must survive. The Fuzzy Peach has to do a lot of this, considering Wilmington offers many cool, different places to go grab ice cream on any given day. Personally, I think The Fuzzy Peach does an outstanding job with marketing its soft serve ice cream because they are so different from the rest. Different in today’s business world is the best and maybe the only way to survive. The Fuzzy Peach stands out because the customer is in control. I have only been at Wilmington for two years, and of these two years, I have spent more time getting ice cream in my second year, than I did in my first. This could, in part, be due to the opening of The Fuzzy Peach, which conveniently is right off campus.

    When I heard that a fro-yo place was opening up in Wilmington, I was so excited. Many of my friends go to UNC, and they have a well known fro-yo pump right by their campus, which is considered to be a popular college hang-out spot. The Fuzzy Peach markets differently than other chains and ice cream shops in Wilmington being that it has a fun, colorful, atmosphere that is good for all ages (not just college students). The display of bright colors and upbeat music inside and outside of the store help to grab customers’ attention. Already, The Fuzzy Peach has a distinct logo, bright shirts and even offers many coupons in books such as, Wilmington’s Attraction Guide. These marketing strategies have been extremely effective, and I look forward to the opening of more Fuzzy Peach’s in the area!

  11. I love Fuzzy Peach! I have always been more biased towards local everything, but specifically local ice cream (frozen yogurt is in this category too). Fuzzy Peach just did everything right. Their shop is in a great location, next to little boutiques and other popular dining locations. They cut costs in great ways, with a frozen yogurt product, which is the healthier alternative to ice cream, but it’s also very easy to keep up. You don’t need as many people working because you really only need one person to work the register and maybe on busier days someone to up keep the yogurt machines. They chose a fun, clean, modern decore of bright colorful walls and modern all white floors and fruniture. Then to follow the theme they chose colorful spoons and bright T-shirts. Pretty soon after openeing, not only did the shop become a “go-to” spot for locals and university students but everyone was wearing the new popular T-shirts. They had actually become a “must have” item in everyone’s wardrobe! So can you tell I’m a huge fan?! I just love Fuzzy Peach and everything they have done to become such a successful business!

  12. Although I think that Fuzzy Peach is very well advertised, has great slogans, and is extremely health conscious with the rising levels of obesity in America, I do not think it is the best. Even though Coldstone and Kilwin’s may be contain more fatty products, toppings, etc., they have made an amazing name for themselves. I enjoy walking into Coldstone and watching the employees make my ice cream as they sing. The singing is a trademark that Coldstone is known for and one that is not forgotten. I actually live downtown and am walking distance from Kilwin’s. The experience of this ice cream shop and the flavor of them all is incredible. The scenery and the location of this ice cream shop is a very good marketing strategy, particularly because of all the tourists in the area. Fuzzy Peach, Coldstone, and Kilwin’s do a great job advertising, but I believe that Coldstone and Kilwin’s is respected more because they are much more well known for their name.

  13. I personally love both Fuzzy Peach and Kilwins, but could definitely do without Cold Stone and the others. I think you make an excellent point by looking at their promotional techniques. Since these are extremely different establishments they obviously are going to advertise differently. What I find interesting is, is the location of each establishment. Kilwins is an eclectic touristy place down by the river in historic downtown Wilmington. It doesn’t need more than word of mouth, and the alluring smell of homemade waffle cones to stay in business. When my parents come to visit, I always take them down to Kilwin’s because it is a fun candy shop as well as an ice cream shop. Fuzzy Peach on the other hand is located right off of UNCW’s campus. Who is more health conscious than the active students of UNCW? The location of the frozen yogurt hit is a healthier alternative to heavy ice cream, is a fun modern place to visit, and is super close to campus. Because students change every year Fuzzy Peach will continuously have to promote their business to students until the brand becomes synonymous with college life at UNCW, just as Kilwin’s has become with tourism in historic downtown Wilmington.

  14. Having experienced many of the ice cream & frozen yogurt establishments in and around Wilmington, I would have to agree that Fuzzy Peach receives my vote for the best ‘frozen treat.’ Whether or not they are the most marketed business is another question. There are many places such as Boombalatti’s, Rita’s, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins and others that were neglected in this survey but have a high standing among Wilmington ice-cream enthusiasts. I, myself am a self-proclaimed ‘frozen-treat critic,’ yet I receive the most advertisements locally from such neglected businesses. I see the digital sign adjacent to the road on military cutoff beaming “Boombalatti’s, homemade icecream,” which tempts me each time I drive by. I receive coupons in the mail and see commercials promoting Dairy Queen. During the summer, every day on Wrightsville Beach you will see someone passing out flyers or just simply eating Rita’s, which automatically triggers something inside your brain to stop in and grab a treat. However, although these advertisements get your attention, the actual experience at Fuzzy Peach is enough marketing for the business.
    This year, at beach blast, my roommate and I decided to enter a contest being put on by an unknown business offering the winners free frozen yogurt gift certificates. We figured the competition was no competition and our strategy would work. The contest included running to the water, getting wet, running back and your teammate covered you in sand. First team to do so, wins. We were robbed, as I ate a mouthful of sand, yet they still gave us complimentary certificates for our relentless effort. I remembered their business because of this hospitality. My roommate lost our certificates later in the day at Beach Blast, but we ventured to Fuzzy Peach and were ultimately hooked on what they had to offer in terms of delicious frozen concoctions.
    While they do not have a commercial (that I know of) yet, they are doing very well with the advertisement business’s best tool: word of mouth. I’ve told everyone and their mothers to go to Fuzzy Peach, and even tried to take my mother there; they were unfortunately closed. It may not be the ‘most-marketed’ in Wilmington, but give it time and it is sure to thrive.

  15. I have to agree that the Fuzzy Peach markets the best ice cream in Wilmington. First, they have the most accessible location for students living on Racine Dr. and on campus. Second, Fuzzy Peach was created by students from UNCW, which definitely encourages other students to come in and check out what their fellow classmates have been up to since graduation. Third, Wilmington is a very active/ health conscious community. People are constantly working out, running the “loop”, surfing, etc. No one wants to ruin that by hitting up DQ on the way home from their 5K around Wrightsville Beach. Fuzzy Peach offers healthy options and toppings, which makes people okay with going back regularly. They have done a great job in the last year developing a loyal brand following, which I think will take them very far. Already, they are talking about opening up other branches nearby. Judging by the success of FP, I don’t think that would be such a bad idea!

  16. I would have to agree, saying that Fuzzy Peach has the best marketing strategy. Kilwin’s is delicious and special to Wilmington, but I’d be lucky to find it downtown as a tourist. They neglect using 21st century resources for advertising and rely soley on word of mouth.
    Like you mentioned earlier Coldstone markets on “That’s how I Roll” and “Like it”, “Love it” and “Gotta Have It.” These to me, have no appeal because it makes me feel like I am indulging in an unhealthy food of an epic proportion. Come on, big portions are so last decade.
    We want a “healthy alternative”, especially in a place as active and health conscious as Wilmington. FP does that, and still offers a homey, welcoming feeling because it is not yet a franchise. Fuzzy Peach also has an advantage because it is owned by a younger crowd. They have used their modern resources like facebook to reach out to not just UNCW students, but the community around them.

  17. I liked this post because not only do I now want ice cream from ALL THREE locations, but I think you offered incite into each company’s products as well as their marketing strategies. Initially I heard about Fuzzy Peach from eating at Islands right beside the new ice cream store. I was intrigued by the name and peered inside to see what it was all about. I like the idea of creating your own ice cream by weight, etc. But the primary marketing I received from Fuzzy Peach was word of mouth from that of loyal customers. I have only heard great things about the store which puts a serious message out there: Fuzzy Peach rulez. I think it’s hard to compete with nationally known corporations like Coldstone because they have marketing teams, no doubt; but for a smaller town like Wilmington, Fuzzy Peach has the appeal of a family owned type store, and it’s so close to campus! Finally, Kilwins is an old favorite, but I honestly never see any ads for Kilwins. I am a devoted customer to them, because the experience of paying 5$ for an ice cream cone is totally worth the free smells. Still, I’d have to agree….Fuzzy Peach wins for the city of Wilmington.

  18. I completely agree that Fuzzy Peach has created the best marketing strategy when compared to the other 2. When I first heard about the concept of Fuzzy Peach I was unsure of how well the business would do simply because there are many other options for ice cream in this town. I think that catering to the students in a college town is a key factor of how well they are doing. I’ve known one of the owners for a few years and I think being a recent UNCW graduate helped him come up with ideas that would draw in college students. Our university as a whole seems to want to live healthier lives and offering fruit toppings on low-fat yogurt opposed to candy bars on ice cream that Coldstone provides is a genius idea and concept for us. Also the logo-clad stickers and t-shirts that seem to be present everywhere I go are wonderful reminders of how many people truly enjoy going to Fuzzy Peach for dessert or just a frozen yogurt snack. I agree with everything in this blog on how Fuzzy Peach has the best marketing strategy when compared to the other ice cream shops available in Wilmington. I know that I love going there any chance I can get.

  19. I totally agree, that the Fuzzy Peach has had the best marketing strategy compared to it’s competitors. I think the simple fact that it is a frozen yogurt bar rather than an ice cream shop is more appealing to many people. Their location is also key, being so close to campus as well as being in the same strip mall as three popular local restaurants. I had originally heard about Fuzzy Peach from Facebook; months before they were even open there was a facebook page promoting the Fuzzy Peach and it’s grand opening. And the only reason I actually went into the Fuzzy Peach was because my friends and I wanted some dessert after dinner at Islands, which is right next door. They definitely thought about the best way to reach their target market!

  20. I would have to disagree with Fuzzy Peach being the winner. This blog is convincing and does make me want to run out and try the Fuzzy Peach, but honestly I have’nt really heard much about it before now. I have lived in Wilmington for three years now and have only heard of the Fuzzy Peach on a few occasions. I hear about Coldstone’s and Kilwin’s all the time, perhaps it is because Coldstone’s has several locations and because Kilwin’s is a tourist favorite. I understand this blog was about ice cream but I think Rita’s frozen ice would beat them all, and they are also fairly new here.

  21. I’ll agree with those of you who love fuzzy peach. I was pleasantly surprised by what Fuzzy Peach has done. I didn’t expect it do be anything out of the ordinary or different from any other ice cream shop. They have a funky set up inside which is an added bonus to the feel of the place. Instead of having a whole bar full of just chocolate, peanut butter fattening clusters, and whipped cream, they also offer fruit and granola for health conscious customers. Aslo, they offer yogurt rather than the typical heavy sugary ice cream you’d get at Kilwins. The weigh-to-buy option is another good catch. You might not always want a heaping pile of sugar!!

  22. I must agree! The fuzzy peach has a wonderful marketing technique that is definitely taking Wilmington by storm. To my knowledge it was opened by recent graduates of the University so who better to understand what “we” want. The location is perfect! It is practically on campus and available to those who don;t have a car at the University. As far as the rest of the Wilmington community, it serves as a great healthy alternative to those who don’t want the Kilwins’ calories! The set up is also designed to make your trip convenient; especially if you don’t want the Coldstone wait! I believe that the Fuzzy Peach is so successful because they please the college students and we, in return, spread the word! The Fuzzy Peach is new, healthy, and in a great location. The place practically sell itself without advertisement.

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