Owner Melissa Anderson brings Lindstrom shop to town
While black licorice ice cream is one of the popular flavors at Anderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Lindstrom, only time will tell owner Melissa Anderson what Forest Lake’s favorite ice cream flavor will be as she plans to expand her business, adding a new location of Anderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe in the former Ernie’s Eatery and Ice Cream Parlor.
“I’m just super excited to bring another small business into another community, to just be a part of supporting the community. I mean, for me, that’s really what it is,” Anderson said.
Despite getting the keys to the building and signing the lease at the start of September, the grand opening date is still up in the air as they wait for final approvals to open. However, she’s hopeful they’ll be running the new sweet spot in town at 167 Lake St. N. before the end of 2022.
Prior to opening the shop along Highway 8 in 2019, she had no grand visions to own an ice cream parlor. It was a love of ice cream and the desire to offer Lindstrom a local ice cream shop that allowed her to connect with the Lindstrom community, which she hopes to do in Forest Lake, too.
“I just love talking to people and being part of the community. So when we looked at Lindstrom, … this was something that was very easy to put into downtown. … There’s not an ice cream shop, we’re all going to other communities for that,” Anderson explained.
Therefore, expansion into Forest Lake felt like a natural progression for Anderson as home base after dessert shops closed along Lake Drive. Following those closures she noted that some Forest Lake area residents drove to her Lindstrom parlor, allowing her to see the potential desire for a local ice cream shop in Forest Lake.
“We thought, ‘Well, why can’t we go over there,’ you know. After Ernie’s closed and Daniela’s closed, like, there’s nothing over here, so maybe this is the right thing,” Anderson said.
One of Anderson’s favorite things about running the shop in Lindstrom is how it offers her an avenue to connect with the community as a whole.
Throughout the past summer, Anderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe had a food truck around the area to reach a wider audience. Even though the food truck trailer was used to attend local events like Lindstrom’s Harmony in the Park and Karl Oskar Days, she began to value having a home base as the avenue to connect with local residents.
“I love building relationships and talking to our customers and being a part of the community, and I missed out on that so much in our trailer,” Anderson said.
The trailer endeavor further allowed the Andersons to see that having a second consistent location was better than the sporadic routine of the mobile parlor.
After running the business primarily in a pandemic, the opportunity to expand and feel confident in taking that jump is ever more solidified as pandemic restrictions have lessened, proving Anderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe still garners community support.
“That’s kind of the lucky thing for us, was people didn’t stop eating ice cream,” Anderson joked.
Even during the height of the pandemic, Anderson’s began expanding their Lindstrom enterprise, which allowed them to carry 36 ice cream flavors instead of 24 and add an assortment of candy and craft sodas.
The addition of the candy and soda allowed them to bridge the gap through the winter and to profit off of the holiday season beginning with Halloween. The Forest Lake location will have a similar spread of candy selections and craft sodas, although Anderson isn’t too sure how it will look as she is working through preliminary design plans for the new location.
However, the main draw of the shop remains the ice cream, which is not made in house, but purchased from Wisconsin creamery Cedar Crest.
“We have had their ice cream in other shops before, so deciding between Cedar Crest or Kemps or any other choices that we had, this was the ice cream that we found the most variety of flavors, [and] each variety tasted always the same consistency of good,” Anderson explained.
Anderson’s ability to juggle the trailer and continue to expand the Lindstrom location, despite operating in a pandemic, offers hope that there is a local desire for a mom-and-pop shop in Forest Lake.
“What makes us excited about another location, too, is it feels like we finally, this year, we’ve got our feet back underneath us after everything’s been open and people have been out again and still supporting us,” Anderson said.