BUSINESS LEADER PROFILE
Dianna Seanez, owner of Cold Stone Creamery, holds a candied apple and a bowl of ice cream at her shop in El Centro. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / January 20, 2011)
2049 N. Imperial Ave., El Centro, CA 92243
Facebook: El Centro Cold Stone & Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Tell us how you ended up in this line of work.
Our family wanted to bring something fun and tasty to the Imperial Valley and we wanted to provide young adults a place to work and get work experience. We explored business opportunities that would allow us a way to help and give back to the Imperial Valley community and decided Cold Stone Creamery offered what we were looking for in a business.
What are memories from your career that stick out with you the most?
The entire first year after we opened our store was very memorable to me. I learned so much and met so many people. The fact that people loved our product and told us how much they enjoyed the experience was great. I had people thanking me for bringing a “Cold Stone” to town. When we brought in Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory last year, it was grand opening all over again.
What do you most like and least like about your work?
There really isn’t much that I don’t enjoy about my job. But if I have to choose something that I like least, it’s probably the paperwork. I am a people person, I love interacting and talking with my customers inside and outside of the store. Sitting at the desk completing the necessary paperwork just isn’t very fun for me.
What makes your business unique?
Cold Stone’s goal is to be the “ultimate ice cream experience.” We want our customers to use all of their senses when they enter our store. Sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, it’s like a sensory overload, but in a good way, when you walk into our shop. Our crew sings for tips, they toss ice cream and catch it in waffle cones. It’s just a fun and unique atmosphere for our customers and crew.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to open a business?
Do your homework. Read up and make sure you understand what it will take to run your business. There are a lot of organizations out there that give support to small businesses, use them. Make sure you surround yourself with good people, people who believe in you and are willing to take this trip with you. I know I would not have been able to do it without my family, friends and especially my employees.
How do you give back to the local community?
We do a lot of fundraising in our store. Being a parent of two very active daughters, I know that fundraising is a part of every group/team they are on. We also work with local schools and libraries and their reading programs.
Our biggest contribution has been to the Make-AWish Foundation. Every year, in September, we host the “Ultimate Ice Cream Social.” We invite the community out to music, games, clowns, dinner and of course free ice cream. Over the last five years we have raised over $27,000 for local wish kids.
More about Seanez
YEARS: IN BUSINESS 5
HOMETOWN: El Centro
FAMILY: Husband, Rudy; daughters Kat (14) and Lily (12)
HOBBIES: Reading, cooking, crossword puzzles.
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