Ice cream tinged with cayenne pepper? How about salted caramel or cotton candy? Blueberry cheesecake or butter pecan?
If your taste buds are tempted, you’ll want to check out The Ice Cream Shop, Chadron’s newest addition to the business community.
Already Bangkok Fire is blazing to the top of the list as a fan favorite, said one of the owners, Andy Curd. That’s the ice cream flavored with cayenne pepper. The subtle kick comes at the end, and leaves you craving more.
Lavender honey, coffee, salted caramel and cotton candy are also popular, as is the watermelon sorbet.
“We can’t keep it in stock, which I can hardly believe,” Curd said of the sorbet.
The Ice Cream Shop hasn’t been open very long, but it’s already proving to be a good time.
“To watch a string of little kids come in and buy ice cream is a lot of fun,” Curd said.
They’ve also hired about a dozen high school and college students to work in The Ice Cream Shop, and it’s been rejuvenating to see the amount of energy they have, he continued.
“We had no idea how it was going to go, not a clue,” Curd said, noting that he has never been involved in retail business. But three weeks ago, when they quietly opened their doors, customers just started coming in.
There has been a fairly steady stream since then, sampling the flavors and loading up chocolate dipped waffle cones with two scoops of ice cream. The shop also offers ice cream floats and hot chocolate floats – an item Curd thinks will be especially popular over the winter if they can stay open year-round. The Hail Storm – the shop’s version of a Blizzard – will make an appearance soon.
“Everything we’re doing now is completely different than we thought we would do when we bought the building,” Curd said.
The plan was to purchase the building along Highway 20 that once housed Brun’s Laundry and Lariat Liquor as an investment, leasing out the commercial laundry business and the car wash and continuing to rent space to Lariat Liquor. When it became apparent that none of those options were going to work, the family set about running the laundry and car wash themselves.
But they still had to come up with a plan for the space vacated by Lariat Liquor. A recent trip Phil Curd, Andy’s brother, took with his daughter led to several conversations about her penchant for stopping for ice cream in many of the towns along the way. The family continued to explore their options, but always circled back to ice cream.
“We just kept heading in that direction,” Curd said.
The business plan of an ice cream shop made sense in more ways than one. It’s a clean, family-oriented business, and that was appealing, Curd said. In addition, it seemed to be more compatible with the laundry business than other options. After all, what little kid wouldn’t be tempted with an ice cream cone while waiting for mom or dad to finish the laundry? And adults can take the edge off a large dry cleaning bill with a sweet treat.
The Curds renovated the building, adding a small kitchen and a handicap-accessible restroom, as well as a covered, outdoor patio to the west, perfect for enjoying a dish of ice cream.
The Curds didn’t want to compete directly with other businesses in town and settled on selling hand-crafted, high-end hard ice cream. The search for a creamery took them to Rapid City, S.D., where they taste-tested their way around the city, finally landing at The Silver Lining Creamery.
“She makes it fresh for us whenever we need it,” Curd said.
The creamery offers upwards of 100 custom flavors, about 20 of which The Ice Cream Shop will carry at any given time. They make one trip a week with their refrigerated truck, bringing back flavors that will likely become regular staples, as well as a few new ones for the community to sample. A dry erase board off the kitchen keeps track of customer requests.
High-end ice cream isn’t the only gourmet sweet on the menu. Laurie Norman, Curd’s wife, wanted to add a line of fine chocolates, and is bringing those in from Vermont. From milk chocolate to dark, there are sweets to tantalize the most discerning of taste buds.
The Ice Cream Shop is open seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m.