A very cool place to work

Poqui Bergara – Assistant Manager, Amy’s Ice Creams – Austin, TX

Article | Austin, TX | 23 April 2021
Customer service and being personable to all their customers is a characteristic all team members at Amy’s pride themselves on. For the Poqui, humanizing the relationship is key to keeping the customer happy and coming back time and again. ILO Photos/ John Isaac
“My brother and my sister worked at Amy's in the catering department back in the day, and it was like a family business. And I said, ‘One day I'm going to go to Amy’s, and I'm going to do my own thing and make a name for myself’ it was a big thing with my family,” says Poqui Bergara.

Poqui is the Assistant Manager at the South Congress branch of Amy’s Ice Creams in Austin, Texas. The pride and determination in Poqui’s voice demonstrates the importance Amy’s Ice Cream holds for Austin’s “unicorns”: a term of endearment for native Austinites.

Dubbed a “quintessentially Austin institution”, with additional stores in Houston and San Antonio, Amy’s has been the consistent recipient of the award for best ice cream shop by Texans. Their 14% butter fat premium ice cream and over 350 specialty flavors such as Mexican Vanilla, Roasted Blackberry & Black Pepper, Coconut and Cardamom, and Avocado Chile Lime, all contribute to the brand’s top ranks.

The ice cream brand was established in 1984 by Amy Simmons the company’s CEO, who first began working in the ice cream industry at the iconic Steve’s ice cream store while she was a pre-med student in Massachusetts as a way to cover her tuition.

The Scoops at Amy’s Ice Creams’ stores are known for their “scoop-tacular” trick shows, which they proudly perform when serving ice cream to their customers. ILO Photos/ John Isaac
Many of the “Scoops,” as the employees are popularly called at the ice cream stores, are students in high school and college. And working at Amy’s has additional benefits. Amy’s is well-known for “paying it forward” by helping employees enhance their business acumen and entrepreneurship skills.

“Amy's wants to educate all of their employees, so that they can have the knowledge to be able to open their own small business in the future,” Poqui remarks. “We are an open book management company and we strive to teach everybody about what the business is about.” Poqui states that “there are no dark corners,” and the company invests in making sure that all its employees gain the necessary transferable “skills and tools for their tool box” to help them in their next steps in the business world.

“I play music. I play the ukulele and sing a bit,” Poqui says. Her passion for creativity, coupled performer type skills come in handy in her role as a “Scoop”. Her creative side comes out when customers, young and old customers, are treated to an exciting acrobatic show that always lights up their face.

Orders are scooped, tossed high in the air and juggled a few times before being placed in the hands of smiling customers. “I genuinely love seeing people smile!” Bergara exclaims, and “our mantra at Amy’s is to make people’s day, and that is literally what I go by.”

Her dedication to her work, customers and team that she works with is apparent from her interactions. “I am kind of like the motivator with my throw tricks. It gets people to step out of our comfort zone. Watching my co-workers doing little tricks her and there, and seeing the customers faces is priceless,” she says with a big grin.

Poqui takes great pride in her role as a team leader and keeping the work morale high at Amy’s. She can been seen “rallying up the troops” and lifting their spirits which reminds them “this is why we do what we do.”

Of the skills required to do her job effectively, Bergara mentions customer service, being personable and having a friendly rapport with the steady stream of customers. “Most of the people that come to Amy’s are going to be regulars. They want to have that conversation, to see the tricks and smiles. It plays a big part in our community.”

Assistant Manager Poqui Bergara appreciates all the financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills she is learning while working at Amy’s. She also sees her role as a mentor and motivator to her team as important parts of her role at Amy’s Ice Creams. ILO Photos/ John Isaac
Leading by example, giving back, and providing mentorship, is essential to the continuity of Amy’s successful business model and in keeping both Scoopers and customers happy. Paqui and her colleague, Kennedy Suter, are part of “the Moo-Crew,” they say with a collective chuckle.

“We go out to certain stores and teach our fellow co-workers how to move with a sense of urgency, how to greet a customer and share our knowledge of our products. We made the curriculum ourselves and use this to teach to our fellow co-workers.”

For Poqui, her hard work and standing “on your feet for eight hours a day at a time,” in addition to tending to a customer with a “forty-person line behind them,” is truly worth it knowing that she can make a difference and brighten up someone’s day.

“When you get the that exhausted mother coming in, or that exhausted father, who says ‘I just need to get my child something to get them a little chilled out’, it’s those kinds of moments,” that validate her work and drive her to be the best that she can be.