For this month’s Town Talk, the Snowmass Sun staff wanted to know: What’s the status of Snowmass Base Village’s newest commercial business addition, Sundae Ice Cream?
What we found? It’s open and serving up a host of made-from-scratch, classic and creative ice cream treats.
On a recent afternoon at the new shop, located adjacent to the west One Snowmass building and The Collective, numerous families lined up in a socially distanced fashion to order flavors such as Salted Cookies and Cream and Rocky Rage, and to get build-your-own sundaes or shop specialties like “The Cookie Jar.”
Customers could even mix in various toppings like toasted pecans or unicorn cone pieces into their scoops, similar to Cold Stone Creamery but with a more artisan, small batch and all-natural twist.
“We want to give you ice cream that’s going to blow your mind but yet is not unapproachable,” said Kent Beidel, owner of Sundae Ice Cream. “For us, it’s all about making so authentically good, classic ice cream and yet still keeping it interesting.”
Beidel, who has lived in the Vail Valley for roughly 20 years, founded Sundae Ice Cream in 2016 in Vail and Edwards. He said he originally had the opportunity to take over each location’s former “Marble Slab” ice cream franchise, but decided to start his own brand instead.
“We made a conscious choice to be our own brand because we wanted to have the flexibility to connect more with our community and to create our own recipes made with all-natural ingredients, to make a higher quality product,” Beidel said, referring to himself and his team.
A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” this wasn’t Beidel’s first crack at running his own food service brand. For 13 years, he owned and operated Loaded Joes, a community spot offering food, coffee and beer, as a “third space,” or place people go outside of home and work to connect with others and create community.
But while he felt creating this third space was a need he helped fill in the Vail and Edwards communities, Beidel also felt there was a need for “insanely good, high quality” ice cream, which led him to refocus his efforts on starting Sundae Ice Cream.
“I have a passion for ice cream. I think it’s the best dessert there is, and so it interested me,” Beidel said. “I’ve seen a lot of evolution in the marketplace; it’s craft, it’s artisan, it’s local, it’s high quality, you see that with whiskey, beer, coffee and food. And it’s sort of happening with ice cream in some places around the country but it wasn’t happening up here yet, so I saw that need.”
Beidel went on to say he also feels he’s able to connect more with locals through ice cream beyond just providing a place where people can gather to get it. Sundae has regularly hosted special events and parties for or donated ice cream to nonprofit organizations and other community benefits, Beidel said, and spearheaded a “Smart Scoops” program in Eagle County, which allows elementary school students to be rewarded with ice cream after reading a certain number of books.
“There’s so many fun ways we can give back and connect with the communities we serve,” Beidel said.
But Beidel credited much of Sundae’s recent success — including the opening of a Glenwood Springs location June 1 — to his management team, including Ashlyn Streetz, general manager of Sundae operations.
Beidel said Streetz, who is a pastry chef, is the reason why Sundae has such an exceptional product and culture within the ice cream company.
Streetz was helping dish out scoops July 30 in Snowmass during the shop’s first week open and said creating each of the brand’s 35 flavors has been a matter of trial and error. She said she’s enjoyed working with the rest of the management team to perfect the classics and come up with new, interesting flavors, and says the team takes a lot of pride in how Sundae makes its ice cream from scratch — including its waffle cones, which are handmade at each location.
Overall, while opening the Snowmass and Glenwood Springs locations amid the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy, Streetz and Beidel said the Sundae team has worked hard to expand and continue to serve up its artisan ice cream in a safe way.
“At the end of the day, when we look to expand our brand, community is a big part of what we are doing,” Beidel said. “There’s lots of exciting stuff going on here (in Snowmass) and we love that we’re now a part of this community.”
Maddie Vincent, Aspen Times/Snowmass Sun, firstname.lastname@example.org