We’re having a great time running our mobile ice cream parlour, but we’re ready to move on up into our own brick-and-mortar storefront so we can bring you even more great ice cream. To do that, we’re going to need to equip a whole new kitchen.
The Story So Far...
There’s a joke in here about a neuroscientist and a baker walking into a bar...
Yoni and Vanessa (hereafter known as Mr. and Mrs. Parlour) moved to Durham from Philadelphia in 2008, when Mr. Parlour got into a PhD program for cognitive neuroscience. Mrs. Parlour, a trained baker, missed all the ice cream and gelato in Philadelphia, a renowned ice cream town, and started making her own at home.
Durham and the Triangle have a great food scene and lots of awesome small community-minded businesses, but it’s missing that fantastic local ice cream shop. By the time we decided in 2011 that Mrs. Parlour was better at ice cream than Mr. Parlour was at science, we’d grown attached. We wanted to stay in Durham and make that shop happen, but we realized that to open by that summer we’d have to do it on wheels. As luck would have it, we were in just about the perfect time and place for launching a food truck.
So for the last year, we’ve been handcrafting ice cream at The Cookery, Durham’s culinary incubator, and taking it to the streets in our mini school bus. We use the best ingredients we can find to make our delicious ice creams, vegan flavors, and sorbets.
We’ve also made connections with other local businesses. Our ice cream has used Joe Van Gogh espresso beans, bourbon-barrel aged stout from Fullsteam, and cake from Crumb. We source all our berries locally and make our fruit flavors by season. We’ve been serving at several local institutions regularly along with many other trucks and participated in cool community events.
And the support has been incredible. We’ve been written up in local and national media, met lots of great folks who love our ice cream, and—thanks to y’all—became finalists in the Indy’s Best of the Triangle survey!
So, why a store?
Because you asked for it! We’ve sold more ice cream this spring than we did last summer. It looks like the demand is continuing to go up. Almost any night of the week that we’re not out selling ice cream, someone on the internet asks where we are.
We love The Cookery and are thrilled to be members, but to really meet demand, we need more access and space than a shared kitchen can provide. A store will let us have regular, longer hours and a predictable location. If you always know when and where to find us, you’ll never have to run after the bus crying as we drive away from Motorco!
The other big advantage of our own location is that we can make the menu bigger! We love coming up with sundaes, incorporating our own baked goods, and offering lots of flavors and toppings. There’s only so much room for all that stuff on the bus, but with more space, we can provide more variety.
We’re in the process of searching for a space in downtown Durham. We’ve got fans all over the Triangle, but Durham’s been especially good to us, and we’re eager to be a part of all the cool new activity that’s springing up downtown.
What the money’s for
The Cookery’s awesome for letting entrepreneurs try their hand at running a food business without buying tons of equipment. The only big machines we’ve had to spring for so far were our batch freezer (the fancy industry lingo for “ice cream maker”) and the stuff on the bus. But now that means we’ll need to buy a bunch more, including:
- Storage and serving freezers
- A mixer
- An oven and range
- Sinks and dishwashers
Kickstarting our kitchen will go a long way toward meeting the costs of opening, along with our personal savings and this season’s profits from the bus. Since additional renovation costs will vary depending on the space, we may still need to borrow from a bank or private lenders. We’ve run the numbers and are sure we can make The Parlour work in any of several downtown locations. Your support will help bring that confidence to lenders and landlords when they see how many people plan to keep us in business!
We’re truly thrilled with all the support we’ve gotten around here as we’ve learned to make a business out of our love for ice cream. We’re looking forward to bringing you more new treats and old favorites as we expand. We hope you’ll consider contributing to our campaign to get some great rewards and be a part of another Durham success story!
- (29 days)