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Anastasia and Thomas, the husband and wife team that run Hansens Copenhagen, know they have a great product. “There’s nothing better than the Hansens flødeis,” Thomas explains, “and we knew from the start that we wanted to work with Hansens for that reason.”
In 2011, the two were sitting on Svanemølle beach when they saw Ismobilen (The Ice Cream Truck) selling Hansens popsicles. “I was looking for new work and we realised we would love to sell ice cream, so I started looking into options,” Thomas says.
By summer 2012, the pair had stationed Lukas, their old fashioned ice cream van, on Islands Brygge to sell Hansens iscreme (soft serve ice cream), one of their specialities to this day. “The van was a vintage 1962 Commer Karrier from Leeds, UK. They are incredibly hard to find,” Thomas says. “We found out exactly how hard to find when the truck broke just a few weeks after our very first ice cream season and we couldn’t find the parts to fix it anywhere in Denmark.”
“We had to hire a man to literally tow the ice cream truck it back and forth every day. It was crazy!” Anastasia laughs. At the time, she worked full time and their son Gabriel was one and a half years old. “Family time was about working together every weekend, so Gabriel would be in the van with us, enjoying a few ice creams. Five years later, he still enjoys being at work with us.”
Islands Brygge wasn’t yet the popular food truck spot it is today; in fact, food trucks in general weren’t so big back then. Despite the difficulties, the ice cream truck was incredibly successful – delicious ice cream during the summer on a water-side promenade? Sounds about right.
The following year, the pair wanted to open a second location in a summer-house town. They visited Tisvildeleje, where Anastasia and Thomas saw a plot of land they felt would be perfect for a small ice cream store. “We sought out the owner immediately and shook hands on a deal that day.” Thomas says, “We started building in March and by end of June, Hansens Tisvildeleje was open for the season. It was busy all summer!”
With the truck still on Islands Brygge and the new spot on Tisvildeleje, Thomas and Anastasia decided that they needed to focus on optimizing the new location. They moved to Tisvildeleje with their son for five months in 2014. “It was really successful; we were on a roll with building the business and decided to open another spot in the city. In October of 2014, our Store Kongensgade location opened. We felt the neighborhood was a good mix of locals and tourists.” Anastasia explains.
As all of Thomas and Anastasia’s storefronts grew, they also decided to run the very first Hansens Milkshake Bar at Roskilde Festival in 2016. ”We turned 200 square meters barn into milkshake factory, pumping shakes and ice cream-based cocktails for the thirsty festival visitors from ten in the morning till late at night.” Thomas says.
Anastasia continues, “Selling the Tisvildeleje location became necessary so that we could redirect our energy to Roskilde and the Store Kongensgade location. We said good bye to Tisvilde in July 2016, while opening the doors to our stand at Denmark’s biggest music festival.”
Though the storefront bears the name “Hansens,” they are not a franchise. Thomas and Anatastia sell Hansens products but own their business independently, so selling ice cream is just a component of what they plan to do. They’ve added a few items to the menu, such as the Belgian waffle (available with whipped cream or ice cream), a variety of coffee drinks, hot chocolate and chocolate fondue. Starting this year, the shop will be open till 10 pm on Fridays, bringing the fun of Roskilde Festival to central Copenhagen with creamy milkshake cocktails like the White Russian or the milk-free Pina Colada.
“It’s such a gift to work with a strong brand like Hansens, share their universe and tell their story to our customers. But it’s also important for us to add a personal touch, such as home baked cones, Valrhona dark chocolate toppings and good customer service experience,” Thomas says.
“We’re considering a lot of options,” Anastasia tells me, “to figure out the best direction for us and the business. Luckily, we love experimenting! It’s been a long road since 2011, but the rewards of running your own business outweigh the hardships any day.”
Whatever they decide next, you can count on two things from Thomas and Anastasia: they put their whole hearts into it, and there will be ice cream in your cocktail.
Store Kongensgade 93
1264 København K
Mon – Sun 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Fri 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
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Photos by Freya McOmish.