JOSEPH — We all like ice cream, but have you ever had it rolled in small tubes with all your favorite toppings? Tracee Page is offering that now at Sweet Retreat in Joseph.
“Not a lot of people have it and not a lot of people have seen it,” she said. “That’s why I thought it would do well here.”
Pick one of her signature orders or have one custom made. Page will pour the liquid ice cream base in vanilla, chocolate or cotton candy — much like that from which soft ice cream is made — on a tray cooled to 2 degrees below zero. She then mixes in toppings, drizzles in other ingredients to the customer’s order, often chopping them with spatulas that look like putty knives.
Once it’s cooled to a point where it’s workable, she spreads it flat on the tray and cuts it into sections that can be rolled. The rolls are picked up with tongs and placed in a paper cup. Whipped cream and more toppings can then be added.
There are no cones at Sweet Retreat, but that hasn’t slowed Page’s business.
“We have gotten a lot of attention because it’s something new and different. People really enjoy being able to watch their ice cream be made fresh right in front of them.”
The business has been doing extremely well since she opened Memorial Day Weekend.
“We get a lot of traffic through here and it’s very artsy and craftsy, so I thought it would do well,” and it has.
Page said she came on the idea after seeing rolled ice cream in a larger city, such as where it’s usually found.
“I had rolled ice cream in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a couple of years ago and I thought it was super cool so I started doing my research and I bought a machine and I just practiced and practiced,” she said. “Everyone has scooped ice cream, so we do this.”
Page spent much of her life in western New York, although part of her childhood was in Emmett, Idaho.
“After discovering Joseph last summer and spending time here I fell in love with the area as a whole,” she said. “It’s obviously beautiful, but there is something about this county and the community that’s here that instantly made me feel at home and I knew I was meant to do my business here.”
This is her first solo business venture, although she’s helped with the business side of her husband’s communications business. He’s currently working that in Virginia, but she expects him to arrive here to stay this week. The couple of five years has three children, one of whom is with Page now. They now live in Wallowa.
She’s expecting to continue her current noon-to-8 p.m. hours until Oct. 1, but she hasn’t decided if she’ll close for the winter.
“It’s more of a seasonal thing,” she said of the ice cream.
But she’s looking into ways to remain open through the winter.
“I am planning to add sub sandwiches to the menu, so there’s a possibility we could go year around,” she said. “The subs do well enough that there’s the potential we could go year around. We’ll just have to play it by ear.”