Ice cream done local
Local youth sell homemade, gourmet ice cream
Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 06:00 am
Inspired by a memory from his childhood, owning an ice cream truck has been a dream of Austin Cunningham for years.
He’s now fulfilling this dream with the help of friend Dean Ciampanelli and funding by the city of St. Albert’s Gen Y CEO program.
The two 18-year-old graduates of Bellerose Composite High School will first open their pop-up vendor “Street Scoops” this Saturday at the Big Lake Environmental Support Society’s log cabin.
And they’re not just selling soft ice but homemade, gourmet ice cream made of pumpkin pie, vanilla bean or dark chocolate cake.
“We have a really amazing chocolate ice cream,” said Cunningham. “We are also thinking about a blueberry rosemary one. Just interesting ice cream that you usually wouldn’t see.”
Ciampanelli and Cunningham met at their school’s culinary arts program in 2012.
There, they’ve been making ice cream for two years now and also took part in the school’s Business Venture, preparing meals for over 150 parents and friends.
It was their teacher who told them about the Gen Y CEO program, said Ciampanelli. At first, they had wanted to open a pop-up restaurant but then decided for the ice cream shop instead, he said.
“The last two years I made more ice cream than most people made in their entire life,” said Ciampanelli. “We can do it almost blindfolded.”
Gen Y CEO is a pilot program by the city’s economic development team and the Northern Alberta Business Incubator. The program was created to encourage local youth to learn what it takes to start and run a business, said Joan Barber, manager of business retention.
In early May, youth were asked to propose a business idea that was tourism-related and “give people an experience,” she said. The successful pitch would receive $5,000 in funding and mentorship to get their business started, she said.
The business would then run for six weeks.
Street Scoops was chosen because the two young men made an impressive pitch that proposed attracting more tourism to an area by selling their ice cream, said Barber. They also didn’t require a lot of start-up capital.
Other proposals included a drive-in theatre, a spray-on tattoo parlour, a cosplay restaurant and a downtown bike rental.
“(Street Scoops) had put in quite a lot of thought into their idea, had thought about what their menu could be and presented to us why they thought people would want to partake in their food,” she said. “They also came in dressed in their chef whites which we were quite impressed with.”
In the weeks leading up to opening their business, Ciampanelli and Cunningham have met once a week with a panel comprised of members from the business incubator, economic development, the local chamber of commerce and city council.
Ciampanelli said they have learnt everything from how to market their business online, to managing their finances, buying supplies with the funds available, and to register their business with the city.
The other days of the week they’ve spent making their ice cream, he said.
“It’s us who have to make sure that everything gets done and them pointing us in the right direction,” he said.
“It’s a great learning experience,” added Cunningham, who hopes to open his own restaurant one day. “I am 18 and I am already learning how to run a business. It’s really cool. I think more people should do this.”
Street Scoops will start selling ice cream this Saturday at the BLESS log cabin from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
They’ll also be at Monjeloco Jeans’s second anniversary party on Perron Street on Sunday, July 13.
For more information search Street Scoops on Facebook.