A local ice cream maker that’s been testing the Santa Clarita Valley market with free ice cream for the past few years is ramping up to open its first brick-and-mortar location in the SCV this fall.
“My partner Allison Edwards and I have been working the last three years to bring a new ice cream concept to the downtown Newhall area,” said Scott Berry, co-founder of The Whole Scoop, and a lifelong SCV resident.
“We have held community events where we have given away our ice cream to local residents for free and the reviews have been fantastic,” Berry said.
The Whole Scoop hosted its first public “Ice Cream Social” in January, serving free scoops from the Berry family’s garage near Meadows Park (pictured above), and customers continually asked, “When will you open a storefront?”
Berry and Edwards are now eyeing a location on Main Street in Newhall (the former Mercado location, vacant about three years), and about to launch a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign so they can lease the space and open their first retail outlet by late September, when the new library opens at Main Street and Lyons Avenue in Newhall.
“Since this is a self-funded venture, we are using as many means as possible to get our store operating,” Berry said. “We have spent most of our savings on equipment and product and are looking to fund our venture in a variety of ways, one of those being community-supported grass-roots funding through Kickstarter.”
Berry said The Whole Scoop’s Kickstarter campaign will launch the week of Monday, July 9.
“That will basically allow community residents to donate some money toward our cause to bring this retail location to fruition and help support downtown Newhall,” he said.
The Kickstarter campaign rewards donors at various levels. “We set a low target goal of $15,000,” Berry said. “Compared to the other restaurant projects on Kickstarter, that’s very much on the low end. We wanted to make sure we gave offerings of rewards to anybody who contributes. The lowest reward starts at a $5 donation, and for that you’ll get a free scoop of ice cream and a thank-you mention on our website. And it goes from there.
“We also have some rewards on there for non-local residents who actually want to taste our ice cream. We’ll ship it to them,” Berry said. “Hopefully we can tap into the community and our friends and family to hit our $15,000 goal, and of course if we can go over that, we’ll be delighted.”
Meanwhile, Berry and Edwards have scheduled another free Ice Cream Social for Sunday, July 15, at Meadows Park, to help build awareness and anticipation.
“We plan to be there from about 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and just be giving away free ice cream,” Berry said. “We have a variety of flavors that are all natural, all home-made, they’re really excellent based on the feedback we’ve gotten. So we’ll just give those scoops away on the cone of your choice, and everyone can bring their friends and family and enjoy some free ice cream.”
Berry and Edwards founded an SCV-based website development and hosting company called Magical Productions about 15 years ago. A few years ago, Berry said the “serial entrepreneurs” started considering other ventures they could get into for fun and profit.
Around the same time, the couple began making homemade ice cream in their kitchen, just for themselves.
“We thought it was really good and had some friends try it, and others around the community just started enjoying what we were making,” Berry said.
The light bulb lit up.
“We thought, ‘Why can’t we get this product in the Santa Clarita Valley?'” he said.
“We try to frequent all the mom and pop restaurants out here and really support our community and there wasn’t really anyplace to go for good ice cream, especially homemade-style ice cream,” Barry said. “So when that idea popped into our head among the other entrepreneurial ideas we had, that was the one that stuck. Ever since then we’ve been making tons of ice cream and giving it out.”
They soon found out how clueless they actually were about producing ice cream for retail sale.
“Initially we knew nothing about it,” Berry said. “We just made it at our house with milk, cream, sugar and egg, the four main ingredients in any ice cream. It took us some time to learn. We interviewed as many professionals in the industry as we could, and started making professionally made ice cream in our garage. Our ice cream needs to be made in one-and-a-half, two-gallon batches, and we definitely could not eat all that ice cream, so that’s why we just started giving it away.”
Making ice cream out of one’s garage is one thing; producing it for public consumption and retail sale is another.
“Once we started looking into a retail operation we realized it’s very hard to manage that kind of production on our own,” Berry said. “There’s extra equipment you need for Pasteurization and things of that nature. So we partnered with a local dairy, not in Santa Clarita but nearby, that does produce its ice cream mix with just those four basic components. It’s an all-natural product. And so that is what we started making our ice cream with.”
Aside from being a locally owned and locally funded business producing homemade ice cream, Berry said, “The Whole Scoop is 100 percent biodegradable. Not recyclable — biodegradable. Any product that touches our customers’ mouths goes into our bio bin and hits a composting center, where it’s turned back into quality soil.”
“We will also be supporting the community through fundraising and support of any local non-profit,” Berry said.