Breaking news on Beloit Avenue! A new ice cream shop is hosting its Grand Opening on Aug. 11, featuring discounts on hot dogs and the cold stuff. The Chocolate Shoppe at 810 Beloit will offer 12 varieties of premium Wisconsin ice cream – not to mention a snack menu featuring mainstays like Italian beef, Polish sausage and nachos.

Tracy Chambers and her husband, Levi, already operate a novelty store a few doors north on Beloit. They’d been eyeing the former Breyer’s ice cream shop, which had been sitting empty for four years. After they negotiated a lease, installed plumbing and navigated the permit process, they purchased the freezers and cooking equipment.

Checking out ice cream suppliers on-line, they stumbled upon Chocolate Shoppe Inc., a small family-owned business that operates its own dairy and factory. They use all natural fruit flavors and no preservatives. Levi testified to its rich flavor.

The company also gave Levi an education in the ice cream business. He drove up to the factory and they showed him the whole process they use for creating flavors like Fat Elvis and Ultimate Oreo. He noted that the company has a small close-knit work force and that family members were literally hands-on in the freezers. Levi also worked a shift at one of their stores in Madison.

Tracy acknowledged that it was the priciest ice cream they had considered but found their customer service to be priceless. One day they received a surprise delivery of 20 quarts of ice cream. The company produces an astonishing assortment, including soy-based, sherbet and “Bang” energy ice cream.

Levi saw a big need for an ice cream shop in south Forest Park. He’s been sensing great anticipation from his neighbors, who thought it was about time someone revived the tiny shop. He also noted that, unlike Breyer’s, their ice cream cannot be purchased at other stores.

While some ice cream companies tried to discourage them from opening, the Wisconsin suppliers have been nothing but supportive. They’ve supplied them with uniforms, signage, shirts, hats and posters. I was fortunate to wander down to the shop, just as Becca rolled up with their first delivery.

Levi plans to rotate flavors but is starting out with traditional ones like chocolate, vanilla and rainbow sherbet. Becca also unloaded a tub of Superman and Birthday Cake, a flavor they developed to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. Levi said the shop will be open from noon to 7 p.m. most weekdays, and until 9 on weekends. Tracy believes they have a great location, with their proximity to The Park and schools.

Like our other family-owned ice cream parlor, the new shop reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of Forest Park: A homegrown business selling high-quality products from a family-owned company north of the border.