By Schoolcraft 7th grade students Livia Ellison, Natalie Glerum, Treasure Fox, and Valerie Bauer
How much ice cream does the average American consume per year? Google claims that the average American eats over 23 pounds. Although many of us have ice cream in our freezer, we get some of this ice cream from our local ice cream shops.
A few popular ones in our area are Apple Knockers, Bella Creamery, The Big Dipper, and Treat Street.
Apple Knockers, a family-owned ice cream shop in Vicksburg, opened in 2009. The main reason behind opening Apple Knockers was “a need in the community,” says owner Paula Hochstetler. Her daughters had kids so they wanted to have flexible hours. It is relocating and will be reopening in April across the street at 220 W. Prairie Street, Vicksburg. Its ice cream distributors are Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream and Plainwell Ice Cream.
Wondering what to get? Butter pecan and salted caramel are the most popular flavors. At the new location there will be more seating available out on a new deck with a great view of the water and many new options like nachos and snow cones.
Bella Creamery is also a family-owned ice cream shop, located at 10098 Shaver Road in Portage. Unlike many, Bella Creamery makes its own ice cream. In 2005, Bella started serving our area because owner Jolie Warnaar and her aunt wanted to bring it to the area where she lived. As she was a stay-at-home mom, she also wanted make her own hours.
Jolie was asked if she thinks it’s too early in the year for ice cream. “It’s never too early for ice cream,” she responded. This year, Bella Creamery is planning on serving ice cream sandwiches as well as adding more mix-in options (like Girl Scout cookies). And it’s planning on catering for events such as weddings and parties.
Big Dipper is an ice cream shop that serves Hudsonville ice cream and opens each summer at 104 E. Eliza Street, Schoolcraft. Big Dipper started in the summer of 2001. Bethany Blodgett was asked what inspired the Big Dipper to first open. “My dad worked at an ice cream shop as a teenager, and always dreamed about owning one. So, when it went up for sale, he and his brother bought it for his brother to run. Now going on its 19th season, they never thought it would become a summer job for their kids, nieces, nephews and now grandkids.” Many local people come to Big Dipper on the 4th of July and get the most popular flavor – Super Scoop.
Treat Street is an ice cream shop located at 3023 Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo. The business opened in 2011. Manager Steve Walantyn said the owner, Mike Leeuw, “saw an opportunity to get out into the community and start a family-friendly business.” Treat Street serves Sherman’s Ice Cream. Its best selling flavors are Blue Moon and Superman. Like Bella Creamery, Treat Street is adding ice cream sandwiches to its menu. Employee Carson Finch reported that they will be having soda floats available too.
Have a craving for ice cream? Consider stopping by one of these local ice cream shops to help contribute to that average 23 pounds of ice cream per person per year.
Also remember, that ice cream is not the only option to get at ice cream shops. They have different menu items for you! Remember to support your local ice cream shops this summer!