Smusht started as an idea about 15 years ago that Steve Edelson would share at dinner parties and among his friends, but he never did anything about it – until the summer of 2020.
Edelson said his wife jokingly told him she was tired of hearing about this business idea he was not acting upon, so he decided it was time to do something.
The issues though? Edelson had never baked a cookie before. So Edelson learned how to.
Edelson is the owner and founder of Smusht, a new two-story ice cream sandwich store at 158 Main Street in Port Washington that specializes in homemade ice cream sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies and rolled in toppings.
All of the ice cream and cookies are Edelson’s personal recipes and are made in-house.
But Edelson didn’t just learn how to make these products. He also learned the science behind them and even went as far as joining an ice cream organization and attending ice cream conventions to learn the trade.
Edelson started by sharing his ice cream sandwich with his friends, collecting criticism to improve his results. But in November 2020, he took his products to the streets – the sidewalk in front of his house to be exact.
He started with an ice cream sandwich stand in front of his house and posted on social media to get the word out. On his first day, a line down the block waited to try his ice cream sandwiches.
Edelson said he had to bump up production to meet demand, jumping from preparing 90 ice cream sandwiches to 150 the following week.
Every week he sold out, and Edelson knew he had to continue his business and expand.
The expansion started with getting another freezer in his garage to fit all his sandwiches, but that later evolved into catering events and eventually moving out of his house into his storefront.
Edelson, a Port Washington resident, said he wanted to open Smusht in his town in order to “become a fabric of the community” that he is a part of.
Since Smusht came to fruition, and especially since his storefront opened this month, Edelson said it has been humbling to experience all the support from his community.
“The community has been so outrageous in their support and has showed up in an unbelievable way,” Edelson said.
While he said it has been overwhelming at times with how supportive the community has been and trying to produce enough ice cream to meet their needs, it’s been rewarding as well.
“It’s been bonkers,” Edelson said. “The store has been crowded almost all the time.”
Edelson partnered with the Nicholas Center, a local organization that supports individuals with autism, to employ some of their participants. The Nicholas Center employees currently work alongside job coaches at Smusht.
“They’re doing great,” Edelson said. “There’s a pride for me in terms of being able to provide an inclusive environment for all customers and employees.”
Edelson said that as his business continues and he gets accustomed to its new space, he’s looking forward to engaging in more community events.
“I think that Smusht can be a special place in town,” Edelson said. “I want kids to want to grow up and work here, I want them to want to have their birthday parties here, I want them to come here after a concert. I just want this to be a special place in town that’s a safe environment for everybody and that’s inclusive, warm and welcoming.”