ITHACA, NY — After the success of their winter pop-up shop, Sweet Melissa’s is opening up a permanent store in Press Bay Alley.
The new location will offer year-round hard ice cream and milkshakes, and baked goods from How Sweet It Is in Trumansburg.
Soft serve fans and loyalists to the original Seneca St. location need not fret, however.
“We would keep our business at Shortstop exactly the way it is,” said Kenny. “I don’t see us ever leaving that space.”
The shop will continue to focus on soft serve with some hard ice cream variety flavors, but “the people that are the die-hard hard ice cream fans don’t have to wait in that crazy line,” Kenny said.
Two blocks away, Kenny signed a one year lease with John Guttridge of Urban Core LLC for the former Boxy Bikes space in Green Street’s Press Bay Alley.
“I’ve been obsessed with Press Bay Alley since its fruition. I love the whole idea of it,” Kenny said. “I always say it’s the opposite of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.”
Guttridge has actually approached Sweet Melissa’s several times over the last few years looking for a way to incorporate them into the alley.
“I was always like, ‘But we’re two blocks away! That doesn’t make any sense,’” Kenny said. “I went to Amuse a little bit after Christmas, and I saw that there was that empty space. We’ve been doing such fun stuff up here (in Trumansburg) with baking and hard ice cream that it just hit me that if we brought that element to downtown it could work really well.”
Kenny fell in love with the Press Bay community of small businesses and even hopes to team up with her soon-to-be neighbors.
“The nice thing is that they already have the coffee shop, Press Café. Ideally I’d like to collaborate with them for affogatos,” she said. “People could go to Press Café, buy an espresso and come right next door to put some ice cream in it. We can still do most of these menu items (from How Sweet It Is), but we’re also collaborating with other small businesses. It’s kind of perfect.”
Kenny expects to open the new Press Bay location in March, and she is still brimming with ideas for future iterations, even considering an ice cream truck in the future. The Press Bay location, with its small footprint, is a kind of test drive.
“I almost see that space as a stationary food truck. In order to be successful you have to have a great product, and it’s such a small space you need to have a small menu. I love businesses that run that way in general, you have a small menu but you do it well,” Kenny said.
Trumansburg Treat Yourself Trail
Meanwhile in Trumansburg, How Sweet It Is is celebrating more than one year of business. The collaboration between Kenny and longtime Sweet Melissa’s employee Sarafina Payne resulted in a combination cafe, ice cream and sweet shop.
The Sweet Melissa’s production kitchen is in the back, churning both dairy-based and vegan coconut-based ice cream flavors, and out front the cafe offers a variety of espresso drinks, hard ice creams, and Payne’s handiwork: cookie dough brownies, espresso eclairs and chocolate ganache macarons, to name a few.
On February 10 How Sweet It Is will spearhead the first Treat Yourself Trail, an event aimed at getting people out and about and pampering themselves in the depths of winter.
Kenny related that it can sometimes be a chore to convince Ithacans drive up to Trumansburg, even though it’s only 15-20 minutes.
“I blatantly had people say ‘I’m not going to drive all the way up to Trumansburg just for ice cream. That’s the thing that started this whole event,” she said. I don’t want people to come up just for ice cream, I want you to come up and check out the whole town!”
Kenny teamed up with Britt Kline of Sanctuary Massage and Healing Arts to spearhead the event, which features discounts at businesses throughout town.
“I was picturing people having a day out, doing little things that make them feel good, getting people to get out of their house,” Kline said. “It’s gross, it’s winter; come out and pamper yourself a little bit. Take yourself to lunch. Get yourself a haircut, come get a chair massage, a cup of tea…going to Felicia’s and getting a cupcake, or going here and getting a milkshake.”
The trail features discounts such as 25% of sundaes and milkshakes at How Sweet It Is, $1/per minute chair massages at the Trumansburg Center for Pain Relief, 50% off breakfast burritos at Good to Go! and many more specials and events throughout the day on Main Street. All trail-goers have to do is mention that they’re on “The Trail” to receive the discount.
Featured image provided.