If you've been longing for a place to get a refreshing scoop of ice cream but don't want to drive too far off base, the answer is here — Ben & Jerry's is coming to the Main Exchange (where the game room is currently located) this fall.

Eddie Barber, co-owner of the Ben & Jerry's Eastern North Carolina franchise, doesn't have an exact date set — sometime around October or November, he says — but the shop will be a full-service store featuring 36 flavors, all-natural smoothies, fair-trade and organically-grown coffee, cappuccino, espresso, homemade waffle cones, ice cream pints, freshly made (to order or pick-up) ice cream cakes, milkshakes and anything else that an ice cream fanatic could want.

"We're really excited about this opportunity to be on base," said Barber.

Talks between Marine Corps Community Services and Barber began in April after Barber read that MCCS was interested in bringing in some outside vendors. MCCS toured the Emerald Isle Ben & Jerry's, put out a bid and Barber won it.

"We are so excited about this and think that our Marines, sailors and their families will be just as excited," said Mary Carol McReynolds, visual and advertising coordinator at MCCS.

Barber is also looking forward to working with the schools and other businesses on base; he frequently teams up with the local Red Cross and high schools in Emerald Isle.

"We do programs where if people give blood, they get free ice cream, if students read a book, they get free ice cream," explained Barber. "We want to work with the community on base too."

Also available will be catering services and a custom-designed t-shirt especially for the Camp Lejeune Ben & Jerry's.

If you want more information, Barber welcomes calls at the Emerald Isle store at 252-354-8448.

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