Alana Zitomer, left, a Staples High School senior, and Maria Flores, a sophomore at Rye Country Day School, have big smiles for customers at Gofer Ice Cream’s new Westport store, which opened Aug. 20. / Photos by Gretchen Webster
Gofer Ice Cream shop franchise owner Hasni Waheed looks forward to serving customers in Westport, which he called “a very family-oriented town.”

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — The Gofer Ice Cream shop, which recently opened on Post Road East, is a new venture in more ways than one.

The ice cream parlor offers vegan ice cream, in addition to a wide range of traditional dairy desserts.

The plant-based, soft-serve ice cream is being offered “for the first time on the East Coast,” according to Jay Ragusa, CEO of the Gofer Ice Cream company, which was founded in 2003. Made with cassava root, vegan ice cream has a unique and popular taste, he said. “We are excited about offering plant-based ice cream.”

The Westport store, which opened Aug. 20, is the eighth Gofer Ice Cream shop in Fairfield County, Ragusa added, with a ninth store opening soon in Stamford.  The Westport outlet is located in the space formerly occupied by the Silver Ribbon jewelry store, which closed last summer after 47 years in business.

The Westport store has been doing well in its first week, according to Ragusa. “Sales are going up every day.”

Annabelle Sydor, 10, enjoys an ice cream treat with her mother, Jennifer, at Gofer Ice Cream shop. Annabelle is a fifth grader at Greens Farms Elementary School. / Photo by Gretchen Webster

Gofer features more than 48 flavors of “premier artisan hard-serve ice cream,” according to its website. Its menu, in addition to vegan ice cream, includes traditional dairy soft-serve ice cream, ice cream cakes, sundaes, smoothies, blended ice coffee and “lite” fat-free, no-sugar-added products.

The franchise owner of the Westport shop, Hasni Waheed, has been in the food service and restaurant management business for 16 years. A graduate of the University of Connecticut’s food service program, he is also the franchise owner of a Subway sandwich shop in Stamford  “I always wanted to do ice cream,” he said, adding that he looked for the right location in Westport  for more than a year. 

The father of three young daughters, Waheed said he believes Westport is the perfect place for an ice cream store. “Westport is a very family-oriented town,” he said.  

Waheed invites families with children — and everyone else — to come to the shop to enjoy “super premium ice cream … Ice cream is a happy business,” he said.

Gofer Ice Cream, 1240 Post Road East, is open every day from noon to 10 p.m.

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for 10 years and currently teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.

The new Gofer Ice Cream shop occupies the site of the former Silver Ribbon jewelry store at 1240 Post Road East. Ready to welcome ice cream lovers to the store are Maria Flores, left, and Haisha Ch, a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. / Photo by Gretchen Webster