PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – One lucky person will win free ice cream for a year from a Portland ice cream shop. All they need to do is find the golden ticket. 

In true Willy-Wonka fashion, Nico’s Ice Cream will give one person who finds the single golden ticket inside the lid of a half pint of ice cream a free single scoop for a year. In other words, up to 365 single scoops of ice cream! 

“We’re excited to have someone find a ticket,” said Nico Vergara, owner of Nico’s Ice Cream. “That’s one person that we can make smile.” 

The golden ticket ice cream giveaway isn’t just a win for the person who claims the prize. Vergara also hopes it will be a win for his business. 

Winter can be a tough time for small businesses (especially ones that sell frozen treats) as more people tend to stay home due to the weather rather than get out and walk around neighborhood shops. 

This winter has been particularly challenging for Nico’s as they expanded beyond their original location at Northeast Fremont Street and Northeast 57th Avenue and added a second location in November at Northeast Killingsworth Street and Northeast 16th Avenue. The upfront costs of opening the second shop spread the business’ finances thin. 

He and his business partners were brainstorming ways to get more people through the doors in March and they came up with a Willy Wonka-style golden ticket giveaway. 

“It didn’t seem like there was anybody in Portland that has done this Willy Wonka-style giveaway and it seems like a lot of fun. Free ice cream for a year, who can turn that down?” Vergara said. 

Vergara said they’ve already hidden the ticket inside a pint and are waiting for a customer to find it. The pint could be at either the Fremont or Killingsworth location, Vergara said. The Golden Ticket will only be available to find in the month of March.

  • Nico Vergara poses next to a sign outside a Nico's Ice Cream shop in Portland. Photo courtesy Nico Vergara
  • During the month of March 2023, one lucky person has the chance to win free Nico's Ice Cream for a Year. To win, they must find the golden ticket inside a half pint of ice cream. Photo courtesy Nico Vergara
  • Nico's Ice Cream first opened its shop at Northeast Fremont Street and 57th Avenue in Portland in December 2021. Photo courtesy Nico Vergara

Nico’s Ice Cream started as a push cart Vergara operated on North Mississippi Avenue in the summer of 2021. In December 2021, he opened the ice cream shop on Northeast Fremont Street. 

In addition to selling ice cream at the two stores, Vergara also partners with local businesses and vendors around the state to sell his ice cream.