BERLIN – The owner of the popular Island Creamery, in Chincoteague Island, Va., is opening a second location along Main Street in Berlin.
The shop will take the place of “Cupcakes in Bloom,” a bakery which closed earlier this year.
Island Creamery owner Kelly Conklin and his family were annual customers of the bakery and would visit the store each December while in town for holiday events.
“When I heard (the owner) was closing, I thought it would be a neat place to open an ice cream shop,” Conklin said.
Since then, he and his wife Robin have worked with Ivy Wells, Berlin’s Economic and Community Development director, to establish the new location.
Conklin says he is still waiting on the health department and town’s approval before he can paint walls, add signage and remove fencing, but would like to open by December.
“We hope to open for the Christmas shopping season optimistically,” Conklin says. “But plans may change.”
In such case, Conklin says the shop will open by next spring.
“The sooner, the better,” Conklin says. “But I would whether to do it right.”
Wells says she worked with the building’s owner to discuss possibilities for future tenants.
In years past, the building was home to Dairy Queen and plans to introduce the new ice cream shop are coming full circle.
“What’s old is new again,” Wells says.
The Main Street location is much smaller than the shop’s original building on Maddox Boulevard, but Conklin says he plans to change the layout of the existing structure.
Current plans include a visual display cabinet for ice cream, which will run perpendicular to the shop’s front door, creating a path from the entrance to the side door exit.
The new shop will have limited outdoor seating in the alleyway adjacent to the building, according to Conklin.
However, plans to change the current design are on hold until Conklin receives approval from the town in November.
Island Creamery was voted the No. 1 ice cream parlor and place to eat on Chincoteague Island by TripAdvisor in 2014.
With such distinction, and local familiarity, Wells says the new venue could draw a larger crowd of visitors.
The Maddox Boulevard location serves an average of 250,000 customers each year, according to Conklin.
Although the Main Street shop will cater to a different crowd, Conklin says he hopes the response from the town will be positive.
“We will do the best we can do to integrate ourselves into the community,” Conklin says. “We are trying to be good neighbors.”
The shop will bring additional competition into town, but Wells says the new venue will improve Berlin’s economic wellbeing.
“High tide raises all ships,” Wells says.
Conklin says he did not originally plan to create multiple locations, but was motivated by family to expand.
As his grown children start getting involved, Conklin says the new shop will give them an opportunity to learn and operate the business.
The new location does pose a learning curve for Conklin, who is not familiar with Berlin’s business climate.
However, Conklin says he hopes to imitate the original location’s menu and hours of operation in Berlin.
“We are excited to be there,” Conklin says. “We like the town and stores. We enjoy coming there and hope we can contribute to the community.”
Wells says the shop will be a great compliment to the town and its new campaign to promote Berlin’s businesses.
“What you buy here is made here,” Wells says.