Twenty-year-old Izzy's Ice Cream is getting out of by-the-scoop business. Soon.
"We will be closing our Minneapolis ice cream shop on Aug. 31," reads a message posted on the company's Instagram account.
In April, Izzy's closed its scoop shop on St. Paul's Marshall Avenue, a storefront where owners (and spouses) Jeff Sommers and Lara Hammel founded their business.
In 2013, Sommers and Hammel launched a production facility (designed by noted Duluth architect David Salmela) and ice cream shop on the edge of Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis. In May, the couple placed the 5,137-square foot facility on the market for $2.5 million.
Earlier this year, with customer visits curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sommers estimated that company would lose $1 million in retail sales during its crucial warm-weather season, a period which traditionally accounts for nearly four-fifths of annual sales.
Sommers estimated that busy pre-pandemic summer days could draw more than 1,000 customers, when fans of all ages would line up for Green Tea, Norwegian Chai, Black Licorice, Cotton Candy and other colorful flavors from the company's large repertoire. Social distancing requirements put an end to those numbers.
"We built our dream home here and our dream location in St. Paul, and we can't afford them," Sommers told the Star Tribune in May. "It's sad. It's very sad."
Over the years, the company created customer loyalty by employing a gift-with-purchase bonus, a second small-scaled scoop (¾ of an ounce) that's added, gratis, to the top of every cone and cup.
It's called the Izzy Scoop, and although the last ones may be parceled out over the next few days, the company is forging onward, pursuing its strategy to compete in supermarkets against Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, Jeni's and other premium brands.
Fans of Izzy's Vanilla Bean, Brown Sugar Bourbon and Butter Caramel Salted Swirl ice creams can find them packaged in 14-oz. containers at Kowalski's Markets, Lunds & Byerlys, Whole Foods, select Jerry's Foods and Hy-Vee stores and most local natural foods co-ops. Cartons can also be ordered online via the company's website.
Last year, in an effort to expand the brand's supermarket footprint, Izzy's moved large-scale production of its ice cream to Madison, Wis.
"We too feel the depth of the loss of the Izzy's Ice Cream shop experience and know how much we are collectively losing — as a company, we remain committed to our mission and to our core values and we hope to share many more great moments with you in the future," reads the message. "It is our greatest privilege to be in business and to earn the opportunity to be in business tomorrow. We ask you for your trust and your support as we reinvent."
Rick Nelson • @RickNelsonStrib