Bob's Famous scoops up Potomac's Cone Zone
Jul. 16, 1997

After three years of chocolate chips, hot fudge and sprinkles, Cone Zone owner Adam Greenberg thought his Potomac ice cream shop was getting a bit soggy.

On June 16, Greenberg sold his Potomac ice cream and yogurt business to the owners of Bob's Famous Homemade Ice Cream in Bethesda and decided to concentrate his efforts on pepperoni and mushrooms at his other Potomac Promenade shop, Potomac Pizza.

Greenberg sold Cone Zone, at 9812 Falls Road, to new owners Billie Webb and Andrei Nedostupenko, who said they will convert the store to Bob's during the next few months.

An immediate change that occurred with the sale of Cone Zone was the ice cream, which is now Bob's "famous homemade ice cream." Other new delights Webb said customers will enjoy are natural fruit drinks, which she called "healthy alternatives to desserts," and the addition of homemade soups and sandwiches as the weather begins to chill.

But it's the ice cream that put the "famous" in Bob's name -- and it's the ice cream that will make the store succeed, Webb said. Bob's popular flavors like Orange-Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and Amaretto Cookie already have Potomac residents coming back for more, she said. With a total of 440 ice cream recipes, there's quite a few flavors that customers will see in rotation in the store's 16-flavor freezer.

In addition to ice cream is an assortment of non-fat and non-fat sugar-free yogurt flavors for fat-counting eaters to enjoy. And along with the cold comes the hot: fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, fantasy bars, coffee and cappuccino variations. Bob's can also prepare special order pies and cakes.

Webb said she is convinced her store's concentration on customer service and good ice cream will guarantee Bob's success in Potomac. She said she plans to work at the store all day while it is open, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

"We've been successful with Bob's," Webb said. "I don't think there's any question people really know this brand of ice cream."

Partners Webb and Nedostupenko, who live in Chevy Chase, moved to the area five years ago and purchased Bob's Bethesda store in 1994. Webb said she moved from Tennessee, where she worked in marketing, and Nedostupenko from Moscow, where he was a heart surgeon and a businessman.

While Bob's will be the third ice cream store in its location in the Potomac Promenade shopping center in less than five years, with White Mountain Creamery in the space before Cone Zone, Webb said she thinks Bob's will be able to succeed in Potomac.

"We talked to a lot of people who said if they knew it was Bob's, then they would be here," she said.

Greenberg agreed the new ice cream shop will have a better chance to succeed if the owners work at the store full-time as planned. He said his time was devoted to running Potomac Pizza, and the Cone Zone suffered because of weak management and employee theft.

"I loved having the store, but it wasn't working real well," Greenberg said. "The community was great, but it needed a good owner/operator."

Greenberg started the Cone Zone chain five years ago with a Bethesda store at 5241 River Road. He said that location will continue operating as a Cone Zone and he plans to further expand the chain in a "non-traditional way." He also said he plans to expand Potomac Pizza in the next year by opening a second location.

Webb and Nedostupenko will have to wait until winter, when ice cream store revenue drops dramatically, to see if rocky road describes the store's financial state as well as the chocolatey flavor of ice cream. Until then, it appears at least one local business will enjoy the hot and humid summers of Potomac, even if its customers do not.