By Kendal Groner
What’s the Scoop, a new ice cream shop will soon be opening in downtown Erwin, just in time for warm weather.
Kenneth and Sharee Perciful, owners of What’s the Scoop, were previously successful business owners in Asheville and operated AMPed Up Kids Consignment & Boutique store.
After the youngest of their four children was diagnosed with a blood disorder that required medical attention, they were forced to close their store. After searching for a peaceful community with outdoor amenities and a safe atmosphere that could afford their older children more independence, they relocated to Erwin in July.
“Some of the ideas from our previous business will continue with What’s the Scoop – the need to fellowship, create family cohesion, affordability and fun,” said Sharee. “We’re huge foodies, so not having a dessert shop or ice cream really gave us the idea.”
What’s the Scoop is expected to open the first of May and will be located at 214 S. Main Ave., the location of the former Under the Apple Tree Toy Store. The new ice cream shop will offer a variety of ice cream flavors and will provide options for those who are vegan or have food allergies.
“We’re also working with the health department, and we really want to expand into a board game cafe,” said Perciful.
Board game cafes allow customers to pay a flat rate fee to come in and play board games and socialize at the restaurant. If they are able to continue with plans to expand into a board game cafe, over 100 board games would be available to patrons with daily, monthly, or annual pass options.
“Our ice cream supplier is the Hot Creamery in Asheville, and they have probably 160 flavors,” Perciful said. “We will carry about eight to 10 flavors at a time.”
The Percifuls will also serve specialty sodas and hope to incorporate pies depending on the response of the health department.
“We are working on getting individual pies versus whole large pies, so it’s really just a packaging issue at this point,” she said.
Over the last several months, the Percifuls have done extensive marketing research on the area, and the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce assisted them by sending out a marketing survey back in November.
“It was extremely helpful in letting us know that there are several peanut allergies, several vegan needs, and it was really insightful as far as trying to determine hours,” Perciful said.
From the survey alone, they were able to receive 265 responses, and the What’s the Scoop Facebook page already has over 300 followers.
While the exact hours have not yet been determined, Perciful said What’s the Scoop will probably close around 7 p.m. on weeknights, and possibly stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We want to stay open late enough for people that are catching a movie, if they wanted to pop over for ice cream after, then they can,” she said. “Like us, we’re a working family, so we know that a lot of people are getting off work at five or commuting.”
Since there was a shop in the building previously, Perciful said that the building will mainly require some renovations and updates.
“It does need painting, and new floors are going in,” she said. “All of the equipment is there from the previous owner which makes it really nice … it’s really ready to go as soon as it’s approved and we get those minor repairs done.”
Perciful said that they want their shop to be a spot where families can spend time together and couples can grab dessert after a dinner date night or afternoon movies.
“One of the things we are really focusing on is being a community hub,” Perciful said. “We really want to bring fellowship back into the community.”
They also want to provide a good atmosphere for teens to socialize and would like to host special events after football games and sports events.
“We love it here … Our children just love the newfound freedom here that they didn’t have before,” she said. “We’re excited to be a part of the community.”
To stay updated on What’s the Scoop, follow them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ErwinWhatstheScoop/.