One of the South Coast’s best-known brands may be in the hands of a new owner by the end of this month, if all goes as planned.

The owner of McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream for almost 50 years, Jim McCoy, 80, said escrow is expected to close by the end of August on the deal that will allow his business to be acquired by an as-yet-undisclosed buyer. “These are substantial restaurant people,” he said. “They are concerned about what I am concerned about and that’s the brand.”

McCoy said he agreed to respect the buyer’s privacy by not disclosing its name or details of the transaction until escrow closes.

When he bought the business in 1963, McCoy said he never expected to own it this long. After retiring in 1999, McCoy decided to take charge of his business again a few years later. However this time, he said, his health has prompted him to sell.

Working in marketing at Shell Oil Co. at the start of his career, McCoy said he had no plans to go into the frozen confection business. He wanted to build an ice cream stand, and later sell it.

Gordon F. McConnell opened McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams shop on the corner of State and Mission streets in Santa Barbara 62 years ago. McCoy said he wants the ice cream to continue to be made the same way McConnell made it in 1949.

McCoy said one of his partners put the company up for sale on earlier this year and received some offers from as far away as New Jersey. A potential buyer offered as much as $1.005 million, McCoy said.

After finding a buyer who will keep up his brand’s standard, McCoy said he’s going to sell the company’s secrets to the top bidder and leave his office at 835 East Canon Perdido Street for the last time. Ice cream is made in a plant across the street from McCoy’s office.

McConnell developed his recipes as a way to help his recovery from injuries he suffered as a World War II glider pilot during the Normandy invasion. His widow, Ernestine McConnell, sold the one-store company to McCoy, who never met Gordon McConnell.

Today, McConnell’s ice cream is sold in hundreds of markets, restaurants, and shops across the country in pint containers, three-gallon bulk tubs, and as private-label products.

Wine Time

The American Wine Society this week announced an event to launch its first chapter in Santa Barbara County from 6 to 8:30 p.m., August 31 at the Deep Sea Tasting Room on Steams Wharf.

Only 30 tickets are available at a cost of $30 each, if purchased before August 20, and $40 each after that date. Hors d’oeuvres and tasting of reds and whites from various labels will be featured. Wine selection will include four California Central Coast regions, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Edna Valley, and Paso Robles.

The American Wine Society, or AWS, is for anyone who is interested in wine and wants to learn more about it. The AWS mission is the “appreciation of wine through education.” Membership includes wine lovers from novice to expert, amateur and professional winemakers, and people in all aspects of the wine trade, organizers said.

With AWS members in 41 states and more than 150 chapters throughout the United States, the society also offers the opportunity for members to learn about winemaking and wine and food pairing with others who share the love of the grape.

More information regarding the AWS Santa Barbara chapter can be found here. For ticket information, email, or call (805) 467-6777.

The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of the latest business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at and


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.