SorBabes' "wild berry crisp" flavor.

It's been a tough year for SorBabes, the sorbet company founded by Sarasota’s Nicole Cardone and her business partner, Deborah Gorman.

Last year, the company ran into manufacturing delays that have kept its products off many of the grocery store shelves where you could previously find them. After working with 6,000 stores around the country, SorBabes products can now be found in just 800, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Texas.

But Floridians should take heart: After finding a new production partner, the company is fully functional again, and online orders are available wherever you can place them.

SorBabes' "strawberry crisp" bar.

"This has been the hardest year of my life," says Cardone, who feared she and Gorman might lose the business they had spent nearly a decade building. "We were close to giving up," she says.

When the company started, it was focused on selling pints of sorbet with flavors that ranged from bright and fruity to rich and creamy, thanks to the use of nut butters and nut hunks.

SorBabes' current product line.

It later branched out into making sorbet bars with crunchy shells, and is currently now only making the bars. Current flavors include "wild berry crisp" dipped in chocolate, mango sorbet in a coconut shell, "strawberry crisp," vanilla and caramel sorbet dunked in chocolate, and a lemon and strawberry mix coated in more lemon. Online, you can order six-packs of each flavor, or choose from a handful of combo offerings. Everything remains vegan and dairy-free.

Cardone says the new products were designed to offer textural contrast between the crunchy exterior and the soft interior, and to provide unique flavor blends between the shell and the sorbet, as well. They also represent a move away from pints, which are meant to be consumed over time, and toward individually portioned items that can be eaten in one sitting.

"We finally get a chance to do what we wanted with the brand," says Cardone. "I'm so proud of it."

Sales of ice cream and ice cream bars rose amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year, and have continued at a stronger clip this year. Cardone says it's frustrating that SorBabes has missed an opportunity to capitalize on that, but hopes the company can reach consumers in the late summer now that its bars are available again. She also hopes Publix and other Florida retailers will resume carrying SorBabes products.

"For us to be able to come through this year and survive, I'll feel like a champion," says Cardone.

For more info, visit the SorBabes website. Sarasota Magazine readers can use the code SRQLOCAL when they check out to save $10 off their online orders.

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