Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Ice Cream Cottage Story - Part Two

Part One here

One morning in January, I heard on the radio that the two restaurants in our town had closed and had been sold.  These were the two restaurants with the ice cream shop in between!  I immediately googled the story, which stated that all three buildings had been sold to a developer who was hoping to reopen them all.  

Margaret's restaurant on corner, Brady's Ice Box in the middle, Elisabeth's restaurant on left.

An aerial view of the old shop, with the purple awning.  See how close the harbor is?

I quickly sleuthed the contact info for the developer (sometimes I wonder if I should have been a private investigator) and sent him a message on his real estate website, telling him about us and that we were interested in the ice cream shop.  Whenever I fill out these generic contact forms, I always use my email, but give Phil's phone number because I dread talking on the phone.  I know, I know, I have issues.  

Immediately after sending the info to the developer, I texted Phil to give him a heads up that the restaurants/ice cream shop were up for grabs and that I reached out to the developer and gave his phone number.  Five minutes later, Phil texts me back and says "I just got off the phone with him."  Apparently Phil got a phone call from the developer and had no idea what was happening as the developer was talking to him about the ice cream shop.  But he quickly caught on and acted as if he was in the loop and they agreed to meet at the shop at a future date.  

On January 21, 2023 we met with the developer down at the ice cream shop, which is exactly 3/4 mile from our house.  Upon walking into the shop...I could see it had a lot of...potential.  It was in pretty bad shape and had only been open for one summer in the past 14 years or something like that.  And the color scheme - yikes!

But we're not scared of hard work and we were very excited about the possibility of this shop.  Takeout only! So close to our house!  In our own town!  In between two restaurants that would draw crowds!  At the start of the bike path!  Near the water!

I'm pretty sure Phil and I started losing sleep in January and haven't caught up yet.  Back then it was due to the excitement of making a dream come true mixed with the fear of not knowing how to do it.  We had huge decisions to make, investors to get on board and prayers to say to discern our future.  Plus we weren't telling anybody yet.  It took a lot to be obsessively thinking about something and not being able to talk about it to or around other people.  We walked the dog a lot during that time, uninterrupted time to talk with no ears to hear except for Lucy's but she doesn't say much.  Woof.

We did need to reach out to our friends who own the homemade ice cream shop in the next town over, to ask them if they would sell their ice cream to us.  We knew we didn't have the time to make our own, and their ice cream is the best in the area and very popular.  JP's first job ever was washing buckets in their shop at age 14.   So Phil texted the wife of that shop and told her we were thinking about opening an ice cream shop and were wondering if they would wholesale to us.  She asked where we were opening, and upon hearing the location said that they had been interested in that location in the past, and told us that we would do great there and yes, they would sell us their ice cream.  We agreed to meet up with her and her husband (the maker of the yummy ice cream) for dinner a few days later on February 1, 2023.  

When we sat down to eat with them, the husband shared this story with us:

"So I got a phone call the other day from a guy who owns properties in the area.  He said he bought  two restaurants and an ice cream shop and was wondering if we would be interested in opening up another shop there." 

{Side note: The owner of the properties did not know that Phil and I had met with the developer of the properties a few days earlier.}  

"So I asked him where it was and he told me, and I said aloud 'Oh yeah, I know that spot and have always wanted to open a shop there!' when all of a sudden my wife runs over and screams:


"So I told the guy that I would step aside and that Phil and Colleen Martin are good people and they should proceed with them, but that if it doesn't work out to let me know."

Wow.  Talk about timing.  

If we hadn't reached out to our friends on that exact day to ask them to wholesale their ice cream, the owner of the property would have made a verbal deal with them that night to open another shop.  But instead, they were willing to step aside and let us have it.  

Also, it made us feel really good to hear that they would have wanted the spot, since they have the expertise and up until that point... the shop was just a lot of...potential.  If our friends thought the location was perfect, then we were even more eager to make this whole thing work!  Unfortunately there is no magic plan or checklist that someone hands you when you want to start a business, and we had a lot to figure out for ourselves...

Part Three here


  1. These are just so fun to read, thanks for sharing all the details. I will wait in anticipation for the next part :)!

    1. Thanks for following along, next time you visit Laura you'll have to come have Robby scoop you some!

  2. AnonymousJune 20, 2023

    I'm loving this! Also, I feel like the fact that it was next to **Margaret's** was a sign!

  3. Timing IS everything. Wow. Such a cool story. I cannot believe how close you are to the water. Looks like an amazing location. This is so super exciting.

  4. This is so fascinating to read and...of course...I'm not hungry for ice cream!!

  5. I'm enjoying reading who The Ice Cream Cottage came to be! And I love that God's hand is all over this!

  6. Amazing timing! And both times it's the wives deciding something and running to their husbands about it :-)

  7. Wow! I love how the story is unfolding...so many interesting layers and of course: SERENDIPITY!!

    1. Now that would have been a cute name for the shop!


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