Designed to change perceptions

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    BYRAM-Cones by Design is a unique ice cream parlor located in Byram. Unique not only because it is the only one in Sussex County with a drive-through window, but because it is a non-profit business run by six developmentally disabled entrepreneurs. "We strive for community integration. Our philosophy is that everyone has the right to live and work in their own community," said Gavin Gear, Community Employment director for the Center for Humanistic Change, which operates the store. "Here we provide the natural setting for individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals. It serves as a great training ground for some who will be able to move onto jobs where they don't need our assistance." Cones by Design offers the same items sold in most ice cream stores but at a reduced price, according to Gear. The store offers specialty cakes in sizes ranging from 4-inch to full sheets that can serve 35-45 portions. The store just unveiled its new individual 2-inch mini-cakes. Cones by Design recently installed a 24-flavor soft-serve system offering a multitude of flavor combinations that allow customers to create their own flavor combinations. In addition to the soft ice cream, the store offers non-fat frozen yogurt or hard ice cream. Seasonal flavors of cantaloupe, bubble gum, and key lime pie are available at this time. "Our focus as an agency is about getting individuals to be part of their community. The store is where we have been able to offer a job that is not looked at as something different. It is just an ice cream store, and it gives us the opportunity to teach the public through passive observation, and they are not even thinking about it at all," said Gear. Cones by Design relishes being part of the Byram business community. The store sponsors a Hobb Engler Little League team known as the Thunders. In addition, the agency recently invested in acquiring the entire building housing Cones by Design. This allows the store to offer outdoor seating. The ice cream parlor frequently offers promotions such as one-dollar-off specials, buy-one-get-one-free, and prepared cakes at half price. Cones by Design is located at 12 Route 206 north. The store is open from 12 noon to 10 p.m. daily. The store can be reached at 973-691-4540.