Nye's Cream Sandwiches spreads nostalgia through Wilmington
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WILMINGTON -- Nye’s Cream Sandwiches in Wilmington was born from the desire of one of Christian Nye’s sons to have ice cream sandwiches for his birthday party.
The sandwiches created by the trained chef were such a hit that Christian and his wife, Kelly, looked into starting a business.
As it turned out, there weren’t that many high-quality ice cream sandwiches on the market.
"I don't think we would have continued to do it if we felt that it was a market that was saturated," said Christian.
The early days consisted of Christian hitting the streets to find people who would sell his product.
"My first day, delivering samples, I hit four local businesses and each of those four ordered sandwiches," he said.
Nye’s cream sandwiches began with four flavors: root beer float, strawberry shortcake, peppermint chocolate and s’mores.
"We don't want to be trendy, we just wanna be classic and something that everyone can relate to," said Kelly Nye.
The selection of flavors has expanded now, but there is a common thread in each.
It’s hand-crafted ice cream each flavor paired with its own chewy cookie.
"My core belief as a chef is to make something that people are familiar with, but take it to the next level," said Christian.
"Nostalgia is a big part of this and I do think that it takes you back to a time when things were somewhat simple," said Kelly.
It’s all done in this facility from the making of the ice cream and the cookies, to assembling and packaging.
At one point, the chef in Christian tried putting out twenty different varieties.
"I learned real quick that, that I can't produce twenty flavors, consistently," he said.
The menu has now been cut back to a more manageable number.
"Will we have more than eight or twelve actually in distribution? Probably not," he said.
Christian was a restaurant chef for 18 years and was preparing to open his own place when the idea for Nye’s Cream Sandwiches emerged.
"Thank God that restaurant did not happen," he said.
Personal life and family often suffer when a chef is faced with the long hours and daily grind of operating a restaurant.
"Our boys are 10 and eight and they need their dad there and so it's allowed us to have a family that we wouldn't have had otherwise," said Kelly.
Nye’s cream sandwiches just signed on with distributors in Atlanta and Florida.
Growth is ahead, but ultimately, the desire is to go at a slow and steady pace.
"I would love to be national now, but my wife keeps me grounded," said Christian.
"I think that we can continue to grow in the Southeast and the East Coast and I think we'll just see where it goes from there," said Kelly.