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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mad Jack's dream vaporized



Gone as swiftly and surely as a vanishing, vaporous cloud of liquid nitrogen fog...

Mad Jack's Ice Cream Concoctions has vanished, vaporized into thin air.

If you never visited Mad Jack's Ice Cream Concoctions until now, it's too late.

Mad Jack (whose real name is George) had a vision and a dream. He also has a wife and four or five kids to support. He poured his heart and soul into the custom ice cream business and his family supported him 100% in the effort through thick and thin, but almost certainly through a lot more thin than thick.

Mad Jack's premise revolved around a scientific atmosphere complete with a periodic table of the elements on the wall, some test tubes, science magazines and books. The centerpiece was the bizarre contraption that actually created each ice cream order on-site, on-demand. Eventually two of the machines were in operation to meet the demand.

It's tough to make it as a small business. Part of the dream was to have a place where local kids could even come and hang out and be safe and off the streets even after the movie theatres nearby closed.

The ice cream was the purest form of yumminess: pure cream, sugar, and whatever flavorings or "elements" you chose to go in your custom concoction. In addition to the actual scientific periodic chart of all of the known elements, Jack's had a chalkboard mounted high up on the wall with an almost endless list of possible combinations of 'elements' (flavors/flavorings) that could be combined to customize each order.

The uniqueness of Mad Jack's was that every dish or cone of ice cream was made from scratch, yes, the ice cream itself was made from scratch, on the spot, when you ordered it. So it took several minutes to turn out each order using massive commercial mixtures custom fitted with hoses that injected liquid nitrogen into the blends freezing them solid almost instantly. It was quite a showy affair to watch. Mad Jack was great with people and loved to put on a show and engage in real entertainment -- all for the price of a (well, yes it was pricey) cone or sundae.

Even though the location in Sunrise Center on Mildred Street near Tacoma Community College would seem like a good one for traffic, the unique draw of seeing the mad scientist in a lab coat turning liquid cream into ice cream in seconds in a great flourish and cloud of vapor probably did not bode well for long-term or repeat customers.

  • It was the best ice cream around
  • It was also the priciest ice cream around (understandably)

Sadly, across the street McDonald's offered a reliable old standby sundae for $1. So it was surely tough to compete for repeat business. If Mad Jack's could have been located near an amusement park or a theme park where there would be lots of tourists and one-time visitors, the business would have had more of a chance. But it is not that Mad Jack did not give it his all.

Nothing but happy memories and best wishes for George and his entire family. So long, to Mad Jack's Ice Cream Concoctions...

5 comments:

JosephMcG said...

I find it sad and frightening to see so many wonderful, creative people's dreams crash and burn... I hope George and his family realize that they offered and can continue to offer such delight and beauty to others...

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

They worked long and hard to make it a 'go' so I, too, am saddened by the passing of Mad Jack's. His wife baked all the cookies (they made monstrous ice cream sandwiches with her cookies), and another relative made all the varities of fudge that was also included in the ice cream concoctions or could be purchased separately. At the holidays, Mad Jack even constructed little wooden crates and his wife lovingly and creatively turned them into gift baskets that were also available for sale in the shop. They really gave it their all...

JosephMcG said...

They are great people... I hope they know that

Linda said...

My husband and I found this place last April (2008) when we came to WA to find a house. I was so excited to take my kids here ... unfortunately I missed my opportunity. We moved to WA in August. I really hope Mad Jack's doesn't give up on the dream ... hopefully they will just regroup and try again in the future.

KyleandCandy said...

I worked there and i can say that is was a very good bussiness...so sad it did not last :(...Their icecream was the best around...and the price was fair base on what you get!!...i wish they would still be on bussiness. Good luck to their owners :)