By TOM KENDRA
Roosevelt Park is, in many ways, a throwback community, with proud neighborhoods lined with sidewalks, a plethora of small parks and ball fields and a community center in the middle of it all.
But for the past 16 years, the one-square-mile community nestled between Norton Shores and the City of Muskegon didn’t have an ice cream shop.
That has changed.
Soaring Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, located in the heart of “downtown” Roosevelt Park at 968 W. Broadway, opened its doors in May and hopes to draw in Park residents and outsiders alike for its tasty hard-serve ice cream – much like its famous neighbor, The Station, has packed ‘em in for years with its popular hamburgers.
“There really wasn’t ice cream available for Roosevelt Park residents,” said Doug Boon, who opened Soaring Scoops with his wife, Traci, and their three sons. “We want to be a neighborhood destination where families walk here together or mom can give Billy and Bobby a $5 dollar bill and it’s enough that they both get a cone.”
Boon understands Roosevelt Park because he has owned the House of Hobbies on Broadway since 2008.
Soaring Scoops is located at the west end of the House of Hobbies building, which is flanked on the east side by Wilbur Products. The space had been occupied by a nutritional health store, but became available in January of this year.
Boon and his family began brainstorming immediately about possible uses for the space, considering a coffee shop or a book nook, before deciding on an ice cream store.
Longtime area residents still remember the last ice cream store located on the main drag in Roosevelt Park – Baskin Robbins, which closed 16 years ago and was located in the unique building on the corner of Broadway and Maple Grove, which later became Goodgrains Bakehouse and now is home to SB Community Federal Credit Union.
Baskin-Robbins was flanked by two other community gathering spots that are also long-gone – Straayer’s Pharmacy, which was most recently a computer store and internet arcade, and the Golden Ladle and later Roosevelt Roost breakfast restaurants.
Boon hopes his ice cream shop will become a new community gathering spot.
“We want to be a gathering place and a fun place,” said Boon. “We’re not going to get rich running it, but hopefully folks will come out and give us a shot and then come back.”
Soaring Scoops proudly serves only hard-serve ice cream from Country Dairy, the well-known West Michigan farm in New Era. In addition to a variety of nifty-named flavors of hard ice cream, Soaring Scoops also features waffle cones, shakes, malts, floats and sundaes.
“We actually taste-tested 13 different brands of ice cream and we just loved the taste and the people at Country Dairy,” Boon said. “I knew right away these are the kind of people that I wanted to do business with.”
The interior is simple and bright with a checkerboard floor and six small tables. The store also has outdoor seating on the grass lawn in front, with three picnic tables with umbrellas.
Caleb Boon, the youngest of Boon’s three sons, is the manager of the store, which provides employment for a small group of local high school students. Doug Boon anticipates that the shop will be open seven months a year, from April through October.
Boon said the business got off to a slow start, but things are starting to pick up due to a variety of marketing efforts – from social media to radio to billboards, along with “lots of coupons” offering discounts and other specials. He encourages local residents to “Like” the Soaring Scoops Ice Cream Parlor page on Facebook, to be the first to learn about promotions and specials.
One big adjustment for Boon is that his 5-day workweek as owner and operator of House of Hobbies has now become a 7-day workweek with the new business. Soaring Scoops is open seven days a week, from noon to 9 p.m.
“It’s a lot of work getting something like this started, but, let’s face it, ice cream parlors are fun,” said Boon. “We just want people to recognize that we’re an old-fashioned, neighborhood place and to come out and support us.”
WHAT: Soaring Scoops Ice Cream Parlor
WHERE: 968 W. Broadway in Roosevelt Park
WHEN: Soaring Scoops is open every day from Noon to 9 p.m.
SWEET TREATS: The new shop offers a variety of Country Dairy-brand, hard-served ice cream, along with waffle cones, shakes, malts, floats and sundaes.
MORE INFORMATION: Residents are encouraged to “Like” the store’s page on Facebook to get in on regular promotions and specials