BROOKLYN — The iconic Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory will close its doors after nearly two decades in operation.
Mark Thompson opened the Brooklyn Ice cream factory about 18 years ago in Old Fire Boat House, a historical landmark from the 20s that sits underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and looks out over the East River. Thompson opened just days after 9/11 when everything else was shutting down.
“I think it was a fitting time to open because there was no good news and we were in the right place at the right time," Thompson said.
Even on a cold day, this iconic Brooklyn spot brings in the crowds.
“Ice cream was something that just seemed to fit,” said Mark Thompson.
When the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory first opened, there were only two people working here and Thompson was one of them. Now he has more than three dozen employees.
“It's been an unbelievable time," Thompson said. "We’ve witnessed the growth of this area between Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge.”
But after nearly 18 years, they will be closing their doors to make way for a new tenant.
“It's really sad. It's a really nice spot," said another woman who was walking several dogs under the bridge. “That's New York. A lot of things are changing.”
Local are all familiar with the famous spot, but Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the company that owns the property, put out a request for proposals in July has leased to a high bidder. Now, after pulling in more than $2 million in sales, Dec. 31 will be the last day for the ice cream factory.
“We've been through a lot: Hurricane Sandy 9/11,” Thompson said. "We have a lot of good things to remember about the place. I'm happy we were part of it."
He insists there are no hard feelings and plans to reopen elsewhere soon.
"I think Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory will be somewhere in somebody's future," he said.