An artisan ice cream previously only available in select restaurants and specialty stores has opened its own storefront in the Walker’s Point neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Purple Door Ice Cream, owned by Steve and Lauren Schultz, crafts and sells super-premium, super-yummy, small-batch ice cream inside Clock Shadow Creamery in the new Fix Building, at 538 S. 2nd St. The creamery – clad in familiar Cream City brick so that is looks like it’s been there forever — is owned by Wisconsin cheesemaker Bob Wills, and is one of only three urban cheese factories in America. It is named for the nearby Rockwell Corp.’s four-sided clock tower.
“We are very excited to have a storefront inside one of the few urban dairies in the nation, and in one of the most sustainable buildings ever built in Milwaukee,” Lauren says. “It fits right in line with our business model, which is to buy local, be environmentally responsible, and support our community.”
All of the milk used for Purple Door Ice Cream comes from Wisconsin dairy farms, and the couple sources as many local and natural ingredients for its flavorings as possible.
“We believe that staying local and supporting our community is essential for small businesses. For every dollar you spend at a locally owned business, 68 cents stays in the Milwaukee community versus only 43 cents when you purchase at your typical national chain,” Lauren says. “Part of our responsibility as a local business is to invest back into the community that supports us. One way we are able to do that is by purchasing local ingredients.”
Using local ingredients also makes better ice cream, she argues, and I agree. Purple Door Ice Cream is creamier than most, as it contains 14 percent butterfat, resulting in an extraordinary texture and silky mouth-feel. As a comparison, big-name ice creams you find in your grocery store average only about 10 percent butterfat.
In addition to purchasing and enjoying a scoop of ice cream on site, customers may watch ice cream being made, as Purple Door shares production and retail space with Clock Shadow Creamery. A viewing window allows guests to watch both cheese and ice cream production.
Purple Door serves up to eight rotating flavors daily and sell pints and ice cream novelties from the Clock Shadow Creamery retail space. Classic favorites such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and butter pecan are next to more signature flavors, such as blueberry buttermilk, green tea and mascarpone. Coming soon: introduction of ice cream sandwiches in the next few weeks, adding catering (weddings, parties, ice cream socials, corporate events) this fall, and introducing a new fall line of flavors in October.
While the company officially celebrated its first business anniversary last April, Lauren says the move to a storefront has allowed Purple Door to expand its pint production and introduce at least two or three new flavors. Expanded sales are also helping the community. At the launch of their business last year, the Schultzes started their Milk for Milwaukee program, in which 10 cents from the sale of each pint, and a portion of profits from all other size containers sold, goes to buy milk for local men’s, women’s and teen’s shelters.
“As a small family business our initial impact may be modest, but it is sincere,” Lauren says. “Our hope is as we grow so will our impact on this community and the people within. We like to let customers know when they purchase Purple Door Ice Cream they, too, are supporting the Milwaukee community. That’s what it’s all about.”