Why Is Richard Lamotta Good-Humored? America's Sweet on His Chipwich
It started with dunking—not doughnuts in coffee, but chocolate chip cookies in milk. "Since my boyhood I've wanted that exact taste but could never find it," says Brooklyn-born attorney Richard LaMotta, 39. So in 1977 he borrowed $80,000 and set out to recreate his taste sensation in the form of a Chipwich—vanilla or chocolate ice cream dotted with Dutch chocolate chips and sandwiched between just-baked chocolate chip cookies. Four years later he raised another $500,000 for pushcarts and vendors, and the first Chipwich stand opened its umbrella in Manhattan.
This fall vendors are selling 35,000 Chipwiches a day at $1 apiece, and next month the Chipwich will be available in supermarkets across the country. LaMotta's backers are counting on a craze to rival the nationwide thirst for Perrier. In fact, Bruce Nevins, who masterminded marketing the bubbly in the U.S., has invested more than $100,000 in Chipwich's future.
Chipwich is not without its competitors, however. LaMotta filed a $13 million unfair competition and trademark suit against Good Humor in September, alleging that the giant ice-cream company pirated the Chipwich product, package and cart after LaMotta had hired Good Humor to be a distributor. So far the federal courts have restrained Good Humor from passing off their version as a Chipwich. If things go as planned, LaMotta, who completed law school at night while working as a CBS video engineer, projects gross sales of up to $30 million over the next year. Along with a fortune, the divorced father of two teenage boys has amassed something else since launching Chipwich: an extra 20 pounds.
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