By Mark Chag Jr, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, May 9, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
HAMPTON BEACH -- When you're going into the ice cream business, there's plenty of research to do. But how do you research different brands of ice creams? By eating them, of course.
That's just what Gayle Perley says she did while searching for the best tasting ice cream available to serve up at Hampton Beach's newest stone-cold establishment.
"We did a lot of market research," laughs Perley, who, along with her business partner Alisha Bowden, sampled a variety of different brands, before deciding on Hershey's brand for their unique shop on the Hampton Beach boardwalk, called On the Scoop.
"Hershey's is a great ice cream," Perley adds, noting that the "Scoop" already carries more than 25 different varieties of the ice cream, and soon will, with the arrival of the summer months, have more than 30 from which to choose.
But what makes On the Scoop unique to the Hampton Beach summertime food fare is the way they offer their product.
Similar to the franchise stores Marble Slab and Stone Cold Creamery, On the Scoop uses a "stone concept" which allows customers to choose their flavors and condiments. Employees then take all the ingredients and mix them together on a frozen countertop, making a masterfully-creamy concoction of favorite flavors to delight every single taste bud from tongue to tonsils.
"This is sort of the flagship store for Hershey's, offering ice cream this way," Perley says, adding that the mixing "Creation Station" is the first of its kind in the area.
After sorting through the dozens of flavors of ice cream, patrons pick from a list of goodies including Junior Mints, mini-marshmallows, Gummi Bears, Gummi Fish, M&Ms, Butterfingers, white or dark chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, good old plain jimmies, and many, many more, to be mashed in.
After that, it's a smooth, cool treat to enjoy during a stroll down along Ocean Boulevard. While there are plenty of places to get ice cream in Hampton Beach, On the Scoop is the only establishment to offer up the frozen-slab mixing technique for the products, Perley says.
But On the Scoop serves up much more beyond the tasty marvels from Creation Station. Customers can enjoy traditional cones, dishes, sundaes, ice cream sodas, root beer floats and even smoothies. What's more, they'll soon be adding soft serve to their menu.
On the Scoop first opened its doors for business officially on April 19, well in advance of the summer season, because Perley says she wants to attract more than just the sun-and-fun tourists, but is specifically targeting the local-folk market as well.
"We're really excited about the summer season, but already we've had great response from people who've been coming in," Perley says. "A lot of people keep coming back again and again."
One reason that the locals may be immediate return customers is because of a secret discount set aside for Seacoast residents. If you live here, be sure to ask about the On the Scoop VIP card to be treated like local royalty - and save money on every visit.
Currently, On the Scoop is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon until 8 p.m., but will be expanding hours to seven days a week shortly.
What's more, when many other seasonal shops began to shutter the windows for the winter after Labor Day, Perley says On the Scoop will be open at least until Columbus Day in October.
"We may stay open longer than that depending on how things go," she says. "Again, we really want to cater to the locals here."
That's something to celebrate with every sundae.
On the Scoop is located at 23 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton Beach, adjacent to the CBC Café, and this summer season is well worth a look -- and a lick.