Scoops by the Dozen open in Hoosick Falls

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — When Chuck and Diane Phippen opened their ice cream shop, they knew just what to call it: Scoops by the Dozen.

Why?

They have 12 children.

"That's Scoops by the Dozen," Diane said. "It's kind of a joke, for people that know us, know immediately what that dozen means. Probably one of the dozen will be scooping your ice cream if you come."

They've lived in the community for 15 years, and have always felt there weren't a lot of places for families to come, meet other families and relax, Diane said.

"Especially in the evenings," she said. "If you go out to dinner and then maybe you want to go somewhere afterwards, there's like very few opportunities around here of family kind of things to do."

They've wanted to have a place where the community can feel welcome and safe, and have fun, she said.

The couple love ice cream — they're also dairy farmers.

"[We] so love the idea that we're supporting the farmers in the area," Diane said. They own an organic dairy farm, Breese Hollow Dairy, in the village.

They're buying their cream from a local establishment, but are making the ice cream on-site using all-natural ingredients, flavorings and colorings.

They plan to offer 12 to 15 ice cream flavors at a time, rotating flavors in and out based on factors like season and popularity. They've already had some bestsellers.

"Our espresso ice cream just went like crazy," Diane said. "Was it the first night — we were up late making more espresso ice cream. It was such a big hit. It's definitely the biggest seller."

Another surprise hit has been almond joy ice cream — something Diane originally made for a friend.

"We had people coming, saying, `my friend told me the almond joy ice cream is amazing,'" she said. "I just kind of made it as a fluke."

Diane said she loves salted caramel — a flavor she hadn't tried until she made it.

Chuck's favorite?

Whatever is in the freeze, he said.

He also loves the black raspberry — made with real raspberries.

Their opening day, a soft opening, was June 6. Business has been good thus far.

They plan to stay open seasonally. They'll close sometime in November, weather-depending.

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They haven't decided when their opening date will be each year. The shop is open 1-9 p.m. Thursday to Monday and 1-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

They're closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For now, it's going to be a family business.

The low-slung tan shop is at 5527 Route 7, near the Vermont border. A sign on the roof advertises the homemade ice cream inside.

"[It's] a lot bigger inside than you think it's going to be," said Chuck. The building is about 4,000 square feet, split into multiple sections for dining, lounging and games. The games area, near the long serving counter, has foosball, air hockey and pool tables. Some sections are carpeted, others black-and-white tiled. The walls are primarily red and teal, and ice-cream patterned curtains separate the game area from a large wood-paneled room with tables.

The couple bought the building about a year and a half ago, which was previously Carmody's West, a restaurant, and then vacant for years.

They renovated the building themselves, including cleaning, painting and doing floors, walls and trim. They kept the original bar.

"A couple came in this weekend and they said that they had met at that bar 44 years ago," Diane said.

It was a long process to open — about two years, involving flavor-testing, building renovating, and learning.

"I think we weren't sure what to expect," Diane said. One of their daughters has a friend who opened a doughnut shop and heavily marketed it, and they sold out within two hours.

"And then people were upset with them because their doughnuts weren't there," Diane said. "I was like, I don't want to do something like that."

She was encouraged to do a soft opening, which is mainly marketed by word of mouth.

"I think a lot of word of mouth and community buzz kind of definitely helped to get us going," she said. "Hopefully that will continue."

The couple had also been taste-testing flavors on their friends, inviting them to give advice.

"It was so interesting that it just seemed like whatever we made — everyone loved," Diane said.

They practiced recipes from their flavoring company, and had been making ice cream in their home for about two years with the idea of opening a shop.

In March, Diane also went to Scoop School, in the Midwest, which teaches people about running an ice cream establishment.

In the morning, she said, there was classroom learning, and the afternoon had an ice cream lab.

"So we actually had different hands-on making different ice cream, gelato, custard, ices," she said. "And then another day we practiced making milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes and how to scoop."

Proper scooping is the "12 to 6" method, she said. You scoop from a round container, on the outside, starting at 12 and working your way down to 6, if you imagine it's a clock, she said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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