Mad Martha’s Ice Cream: A New Era for an Iconic Island Business


The iconic Mad Martha’s Ice Cream stores have undergone a transformative change, with the recent sale of the business marking a new chapter in its remarkable 50-year history. The three commercial storefronts located in the down-Island towns, along with the rights to the business itself, were sold for a total of $6 million, signifying a significant milestone for this beloved Island establishment.

New Ownership and Business Structure

Led by Island businessman Brook Katzen and real estate developer James (Jim) Shane, a group of at least four investors has acquired the rights to Mad Martha’s Ice Cream. The sale, which concluded on May 13, involves two separate LLCs connected to the investors. Mr. Katzen and Mr. Shane will serve as co-managers of the business, with Mr. Katzen overseeing the general operations. This change in ownership brings a fresh perspective while preserving the essence of Mad Martha’s.

Storefront Sales and Historical Significance

According to records from LINK, the Island’s multiple real estate listing service, each Mad Martha’s location was sold separately. The Edgartown storefront, situated on North Water Street, was purchased for $2 million. The Oak Bluffs location on Circuits Avenue was sold for $1.9 million, and the Vineyard Haven store was acquired for $2.1 million. These properties hold immense historical value, having served as cherished destinations for Islanders and seasonal residents for over five decades. In fact, the esteemed President Bill Clinton was even photographed enjoying an ice cream cone at Mad Martha’s in 1993.

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A Legacy of Success and Continuity

Former owners Patricia and Paul Roberts have played a pivotal role in steering Mad Martha’s through its most recent era. In 2004, they established down-Island locations in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, followed by the opening of a Vineyard Haven storefront in 2014. Their daughter Emily managed the Edgartown store. After dedicating 24 years to the business, the Roberts family made the heartfelt decision to put the property up for sale earlier this year.

A Promising Future with Maintained Tradition

Brook Katzen, the new co-manager of Mad Martha’s Ice Cream, expressed his commitment to preserving the iconic brand’s legacy. He emphasized that minimal changes will be made to retain the identity that has made Mad Martha’s a beloved establishment. However, exciting updates are on the horizon. Mr. Katzen plans to introduce new flavors, including tempting dairy-free options made from oat and cashew milks. Additionally, collaborations with Island businesses, such as a delectable Back Door Donuts apple fritter ice cream and a captivating Chilmark Coffee flavor, will add a unique twist to the menu.

Expansion and Community Engagement

Mad Martha’s Ice Cream will not only continue offering its delightful treats at the three existing locations but will also embark on new ventures. As part of their upcoming plans, the business aims to sell ice cream at Martha’s Vineyard Sharks games and at the Cove, a delightful addition for the upcoming summer season. Furthermore, Mad Martha’s will begin supplying ice cream wholesale to Island restaurants and caterers, with future aspirations of expanding to markets on the Cape. To enhance customer experience, a new website and a refreshed logo will be introduced in the near future. Moreover, there are exciting prospects of establishing an up-Island location, demonstrating the commitment of the new management to growth while staying true to the core values of the brand.

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A Promise for the Future

Brook Katzen and James Shane are both eagerly looking forward to the next chapter for Mad Martha’s Ice Cream, particularly as the business celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. They express their gratitude for being part of this marvelous Island community and aim to give back to the place that has provided them with so much. As Mad Martha’s ushers in this new era, it remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering the same exceptional quality and taste that customers have cherished for decades.

Updated to include the Mad Martha’s business sale price.

Mad Martha's Ice Cream

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