ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS - When the weather warms up and the crowds hit the sidewalks of Annapolis Royal the town’s newest shop owners will be there to help save everyone from the summer heat – with ice cream.
In fact Maureen Horne-Paul and Annette Schottmann have been open going on two weeks now and already their colourful little nook across from town hall is the talk of the town.
They sold more than 200 cones on the Saturday of the town’s Easter Eggstravaganza and despite some cool weather people have been stopping by to test the flavours and try out the ‘floats’ – ice cream and soda pop together.
Maureen and Annette opened 1 Scoop, 2 Scoop to meet a demand they noticed last summer when they tried to score a cone but couldn’t.
“I moved here a year and a half ago to Annapolis,” said Maureen. “Last year was my first summer and it was so busy and lots going on but you couldn’t get an ice cream cone when you’re walking down the street.”
A naturopath by vocation, Maureen was ready to close her practice but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
“This is fun. I think it provides a nice addition to the community, to the retail,” she said. “You know there was a huge gap and people were screaming for ice cream. All the vendors in town, all the businesses in town send people either up to Lequille or to Dunromin because there was nowhere else.”
That’s where the idea came from.
“There’s so much street traffic here in the summer time. So much walking traffic,” she said. “My first summer here walking down the street to an event and on hot day’s I’m ‘oh I want an ice cream.’ There’s nowhere to go. You have to get in your car and drive. And that takes away from the whole ambiance of the whole thing.”
When the space came up across from town hall in November Maureen asked Annette if she wanted to do it – open an ice cream shop – and she said yes.
Annette’s been finishing her job in HRM to retire to Annapolis Royal, but the duo is getting geared up for the busy season after getting the shop up and running.
“We did everything ourselves here,” said Maureen. “The only thing we didn’t do was the electrical and plumbing. We did all the decorating, all the building, all the painting ourselves.”
She said the colours were sort of inspired by the shop that was there previously – Lucky Lou’s – a retro shop filled with fun and funky things.
“They’re bright, they’re airy, they’re fun,” she said. “We wanted to keep it really happy, really upbeat.”
They succeeded. The ice cream shop has that retro feel itself and the pull-down cones and décor could take you back. “Fifty years ago this is sort of what it would have looked like,” she said. “They probably would have had a soda fountain. They probably would have done milkshakes, you know, like they used to do at Woolworths and K-Mart, right, on the lunch counter. But definitely the old fashioned ice cream shop would have had pull-down cones.”
Ice cream floats aren’t something you see every day, but at one time they were a common treat.
“They come to me from childhood. I grew up having root beer and chocolate ice cream floats. And I love them,” she said. “We just wanted to do something a little different, rather than doing milkshakes. So we connected with the Jones Soda people and there you go. We have five flavours of Jones – grape, black cherry, root beer, cream soda, and orange – and you can mix it with any flavor of ice cream.”
And people are responding to the floats, even if they’ve never tried one before.
“I think it’s going to catch on once people try it,” she said. “And certainly for people our age who know what an ice cream float is. Younger kids are used to the milkshakes, right? Once they get used to them, it’s just a matter of getting them to try it.”
The shop offers 12 flavours of ice cream – always a sorbet or sherbet – and based on customer feedback they will have favourite flavours all the time. They will rotate through about 30 to 40 available flavours for the other spots in the freezer.
The ice cream comes from Central Smith Creamery in Lindsay, Ont. and is a high end product with different flavours than locally available. Maureen is partial to chocolate, but since she’s been running the shop she’s been loving Nanaimo bar and salty caramel.
“I’m not a caramel girl but this salty caramel is absolutely delicious,” she said.
They offer regular cones, waffle cones, and Peace by Chocolate from the Syrian family in Antigonish. “We wanted to do something a little bit community minded,” said Maureen. “I think it’s really important for us to support refugee families and these guys are knocking it out of the park. Their chocolate is so good. There’s nowhere in this end of Nova Scotia, that I know of, where you can buy that.”
They also sell gourmet popcorn because not everybody in a group of three or four customers wants ice cream. Add water, lemonaid, ice tea, and that Jones Soda and a trip to 1 Scoop, 2 Scoop is filling and refreshing.
The Bird Houses
While ice cream is the main offering at 1 Scoop 2 Scoop, the front window is crowded with colourful bird houses made by Annette and adorned with lots of fun and whimsical decorations from license plates to hand blenders. It’s often the bird houses that stop people walking down the side walk before they realize it’s an ice cream shop.
“Annette’s birdhouses are made from really funky, sort of yard sale hardware stuff that she finds everywhere and anywhere,” said Maureen. “She makes them all herself. They’re all one of a kind. You’ll never find one exactly the same anywhere.”
Annette’s been making them for years, starting out doing it just as a little hobby and selling them at the end of her driveway.
“They’re great for back yards, great for cottages,” said Maureen. “A lot of people put them inside their house just because they’re so pretty. They’re all for sale and we will do custom made ones if people have a special request. We can try and come up with a pattern and make something for people.”
Looking ahead to the summer, Maureen knows she and Annette will never be able to keep up on their own.
“We’re going to have to hire somebody to help us out,” she said. “Obviously we can’t work seven days a week, so we will be hiring some staff. But yeah, we’re ready for it. We’re absolutely ready for it.”
That spinning arrow on the wall? If you can’t make up your mind what size of ice cream you want, you can spin the arrow like a game show contestant – and land on one scoop, or two scoops.