Business Spotlight: Three Twins Ice Cream

A small ice cream shop offering fresh, local, organic ice cream has grown in leaps and bounds, creating local jobs and giving back to the environment in which we live.

641 Del Ganado Road

What do they offer?

Three Twins Ice Cream is made with local ingredients, all found within 20 miles. Twelve amazing flavors of ice cream are offered, including the very popular Mint Confetti, Madagascar Vanilla and Strawberry Je Ne Sais Quoi, ooh lala!  All 12 flavors can also be found at United and Whole foods downtown, if there isn’t enough time to run up to Terra Linda for a fresh scoop.

Who are they?

Founding twin and owner Neal Gottleib is the perfect example of small business success. He invested his savings, found a perfect storefront and enlisted his brothers assistance in sprucing up the space. With 580 square feet of working room, for many months he was the only employee. He would make the ice cream in the morning, serve scoops with a smile in the afternoon and clean up after hours. Three Twins Ice Cream was conceived at just the right time and now a wholesale factory in Petaluma is swirling and churning up all 12 delicious flavors. Three Twins will be selling quarts nationwide via Whole Foods by mid-May and is currently enjoyed in 37 states. Neal is thrilled to have four shops in operation and without a doubt, San Rafael shop manager Troy Garot is still scooping out delight and receiving smiles in return.

How long have they been there?

The Terra Linda Three Twins Ice Cream shop opened on August 27, 2005. Currently there are three other stores in operation, one in Larkspur, one in Napa and one in San Francisco.

Why are they in our Business Spotlight?

In a time of economic hardship, many small business owners are struggling to keep the doors open. Three Twins Ice Cream is an inspiration, as Neal had a simple concept and created a thriving operation. It was the first ice cream business in the United States to receive the Organic Trade Ice Cream Label.  As  Gottleib says, “Our organic ice cream is fresh and delicious, the finest examples of flavor, and the best part? All the ingredients come from farmers less than 20 miles away. It’s a prime example of living, working and trading locally.”

Three Twins is also extremely dedicated to giving back to the community and the world. A week after opening in 2005, Three Twins kicked off its  tradition of charitable giving by hosting a post-Hurricane Katrina “name your own price” event that raised more than $1,300 for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.

In addition, the business is a member of the 1 percent club, donating 1 percent of sales to environmental non-profits. In 2011 Three Twins launched Ice Cream for Acres, a program allowing for donations to land preservation projects all over the world. The purchase of a 1.5 quart container will save 12 square feet of land. So far, 4,589,111 sq. ft have been preserved and the number keeps going up! 

"It is the seemingly small concepts that add up to prevent consequences," Gottleib said.

Did you know?

Wonder if there really are three twins? Well, Neal has a twin brother, Carl. While creating the concept for Three Twins Neal, Carl and Carl’s fiancee were all rooming together and spend so much time together friends dubbed them the “Three Twins.” When the time came to name the new business, Neal felt Three Twins Ice Cream was perfect and appropriate.


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