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Three Twins Ice Cream goes out of business

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Three Twins Ice Cream, the company headquartered in Petaluma, has ceased operations effectively immediately amid financial challenges exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A big part of the Petaluma food scene for the past decade, Three Twins founder and owner Neal Gottlieb was emotional about the decision in an interview Friday.

“We have been struggling for years,” Gottlieb said. “We set out to make a great product, but it was also an expensive product.”

Gottlieb said the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit large swaths of the economy, was too much to overcome.

“The past three years we’ve seen declining sales,” he said. “The business was not sustainable without capital infusion, and the current pandemic was the final straw.”

Gottlieb started Three Twins as a single scoop shop in San Francisco in 2005 with a goal of making organic ice cream that would appeal to the masses based on flavor, quality and accessibility.

With little business experience at the time, he started with just an idea that grew over the next decade into more scoop shops, farmers markets and then grocery stores. Eventually, Three Twins was available throughout the U.S. with scoop shops in other parts of the world.

The company opened a factory in Petaluma in 2010. Last year, Three Twins moved production to Wisconsin, but maintained its headquarters in Petaluma.

From the beginning, Gottlieb wanted to build a conscientious company. Whether purchasing 12,000 acres of land for habitat restoration and protection through their “Ice Cream For Acres” program or donating throughout the Petaluma community, Three Twins put people before profits, Gottlieb said.

For those looking to rush out and stock up, Gottlieb revealed that Three Twins liquidated a lot of their product to Grocery Outlet, which means we will likely see their pints on store shelves for months to come.

In the phone interview, Gottlieb expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community. He said that he could not have asked for a better community than Petaluma to base his headquarters and draw from its work force.

He hoped to find jobs for his “talented pool of former employees who are looking for their next great role.”

In his social media post announcing the closure, Gottlieb said it is possible that someone may revive the brand in the future, but there did not appear to be any plans currently in the works.

“I have always lived by the philosophy that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” he posted. “While this is a heartbreaking end to a 15 year (and two day) dream, I feel entirely lucky to have had this opportunity. Thank you for sharing it with me.”

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