After 20 years of experimenting with flavors and consistency in her home kitchen, local resident Bonnie Plottner is ready to share her ice cream-making skills with the community.

She plans to open Swanky Scoop in Woodin Creek Village this March. Until then, Plottner continues to host pop-up pint stands with a mobile ice cream cart.

As she started to pursue her dream of opening a gourmet ice creamery, Plottner said, she had several factors stacked against her.Most significantly—shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The big lesson is that I’m not 100% in control of everything,” she said.

Plottner struggled to get her hands on refrigeration equipment, she said, which plays a large role in her operation. Additionally, the specific waffle cone maker she wanted was out of stock for an extended period of time, so she needed to pick a different one in October.

“It’s taken a while with the pandemic and supply chain issues,” she said. “At first, I had some unrealistic expectations, so right now I'm just focused on getting open. And then having a vibrant store that has dairy and nondairy flavors to support a variety of people who just want frozen fruit.”

Plottner has been working to open a storefront for about seven years, she said. She only became serious about the business right before the pandemic. She even attended an in-depth course at the University of Wisconsin to better understand the commercial ice cream industry, she noted. 

Plottner said she feels the class prepared her for this next venture, especially the ability to practice with commercial equipment. A commercial batch freezer costs around $30,000, she said, so there is no option to try it out at home first.

“Making a few pints at a time is way different from making several gallons at a time,” Plottner said. 

The connections she made with other business owners across the country have proven to be useful, she said. She feels safe to ask questions of her peers because they aren’t in direct competition with each other, she added.

She said it took a few years to find a vacant space in Woodinville for the shop. Swanky Scoop, located in the new Woodin Creek Village development, will open its doors across the street from Sidekick Coffee and Lifted Taco. 

Residents and visitors come to the village for wine tasting or stop by for a snack after a sporting event at the nearby fields, she said. 

“I like that the community here is a lot of local businesses rather than a bunch of chain developments,” she said.

Plottner plans to serve a handful of dairy and nondairy flavors year-round, she said, while also offering seasonal flavors like peppermint during the holidays. Swanky Scoop is also able to hire teen employees since no alcohol is being served, she added.

While the shop is still under construction, Plotter estimates she makes three to five batches of ice cream each week from home. Her three daughters help test out new flavors, she said. She recently discovered that banana and cinnamon make for a delicious combination. 

“My own kids are probably the only ones who are like, ‘Ice cream, again?’” she said. “But they all love ice cream and I think they’re hoping to work in the store.”

In the meantime, Plottner said she has organized "pop-up pint shops" in Woodin Creek Village. She rented a commercial kitchen space and has been making commercial ice cream since November, producing over 100 pints a week. 

The pop-up shops will continue until early February. Plottner said she features two dairy flavors and one non-dairy flavor each week. 

Plottner, who grew up in Ohio, pursued a career in software engineering after graduating from college in Minnesota. She lived in both New Jersey and Massachusetts before moving to Washington in 2006.

“I’ve been making ice cream at home for 20 years as a hobby,” she said. “At all the other places I’ve lived before, going to ice cream stores was my favorite activity.” 

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