As Ann Arbor continues to freeze over, a new ice cream shop is getting ready to add a little more chill — this summer, at least.
Blank Slate Creamery, an ice cream store offering 24 flavors, is expected to open in June at the corner of First Street and West Liberty.
Among the offerings, Blank Slate Creamery will accommodate vegan customers with four flavors of sorbet. Other options include blueberry and prickly pear, as well as creamier flavors, such as Tahitian vanilla, blueberry pancake, white chocolate raspberry swirl chip, pistachio and mocha almond fudge.
Blank Slate founder Janice Segler, a University alum, said she wants to keep all ingredients natural and locally sourced. For example, Guernsey Farm in Lansing will supply the shop’s milk and cream.
The ice cream base will consist entirely of eggs, cane sugar and milk, free of any added preservatives, stabilizers or emulsifiers. All of the add-ins, such as peanut butter cups, will also be organic or natural.
“We’re trying to make an all-natural product, that even though you’re indulging, you can feel good about eating — something that’s a whole food,” Segler said.
The store will feature a glass wall to allow customers to look in on the process of making ice cream. The store will also include games, chalkboards and slates for children to draw on — providing inspiration for the creamery’s name.
Segler said she is also in the process of developing partnerships with Mighty Good Coffee and a local chocolate store to add to her bank of flavors. Though Segler wants to keep the focus on ice cream, sundaes and shakes, she also mentioned the possibility of introducing soup to the menu during winter months.
Segler’s idea to open a new ice cream store did not materialize overnight. She first first conceived the idea when she was in her twenties. To start, she visited an independent shop in Massachusetts to learn how all-natural ice cream is made and to see whether opening a store was something she really wanted to do. After learning the basics, she returned to Michigan to perfect her flavors and proportions.
Segler said she hopes to bring something new to Ann Arbor while keeping a local feel.
“We think our product is a good match with what people in the downtown area are looking for,” Segler said. “We didn’t want to be a shop in a typical strip mall.”
Rather than thinking of the new store as competition, the owners of other ice cream shops in Ann Arbor said the Blank Slate Creamery will be a good addition to the community.
LSA senior Nick Lemmer, owner of Iorio’s Gelateria on East William Street, said ice cream and gelato are very different products.
“Gelato is made with different ingredients, so while it is a little bit of competition, it’s not direct competition,” Lemmer said. “We’re excited that another frozen dessert place will be coming to Ann Arbor because I think it’s important for the market itself.”
Chera Tramontin, owner of Kilwin’s on East Liberty, said she did not have any concerns with competition posed by a new ice cream establishment.
“I think that’s great for Ann Arbor, and I wish them the best of luck,” Tramontin said.