Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

The Minnehaha Scoop opens in the heat of summer

Posted on 24 July 2017 by calvin

James Freid has an enviable job title: CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of the Big Bell Ice Cream Company. With headquarters in the Longfellow neighborhood, the company supplies more than 80 independent contractors who drive ice cream trucks in the five-state area.

About a year ago, Freid saw a FOR SALE sign go up on a former gas station at 3352 Minnehaha Ave. He lives in the neighborhood; his Big Bell Ice Cream Company is only a couple of blocks away; he’d been biking, walking, and driving past the property for more than 20 years; it just made sense to buy it.

After decades in the mobile ice cream business, Freid has got his first brick and mortar. The Minnehaha Scoop will be doing business seven days a week from noon-8pm, and will stay open well into the fall. When asked how he got where he is today, Freid said he owed it all to three words, “Papua, New Guinea.”

Minnehaha Scoop 07Photo right: James Freid, CEO and owner of The Minnehaha Scoop, whose favorite confection is still an Orange Creamsicle. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Rewind many years, and Freid is a student at St. Olaf College with a hankering to see the world. A friend invites him on a trip to New Guinea, and Fried accepts. He needs extra money and gets a job driving an ice cream truck for Blue Bell Ice Cream. “Until that point,” Freid said, “the only places I’d ever traveled to were Wisconsin and Iowa. I flew over half the countries in the world to get to New Guinea, and I would never have even left the ground without the money I made selling ice cream.”

Freid traveled, returned home, and eventually worked his way up to management with Blue Bell Ice Cream. “What really helped to advance my career was that I had started as a driver,” he said.

Brown’s Ice Cream bought out Blue Bell several years later. The new owners came to him and asked, “Do you know anyone who might want to buy our fleet of 30 ice cream trucks?” With characteristic enthusiasm, Freid answered, “I could do that!”

The fleet has been updated and has grown larger over the years, but Fried said with a smile, “We still have some of those original trucks from the 80’s.”

Freid attends a conference annually for ice cream truck owners and ice cream distributors. “Every year someone will tell me confidentially that I’m doing things wrong with my business model,” he said. “My goal has never been to maximize my profit at somebody else’s expense. I think I do well because I treat other people well, and that’s very important to me.”

The Minnehaha Scoop will start with basic ice creams, a few novelty bars, beverages, and chips. Freid explained, “We’ll have some nondairy options too, like Rosati Italian Ices and a vegan chocolate cherry product. We hope there’ll be something for everyone.”

While the shop is too small for indoor seating, there will be outdoor seating with tables and benches made from reclaimed wood pallets—and umbrellas to keep the customers cool.

Freid said, “We’re looking forward to running the Minnehaha Scoop in this neighborhood. We’ll be accepting credit cards. One day there will even be a phone and a Facebook page. In the meantime, come on in and enjoy some deliciousness!”