New ice cream shop set to open end of July

Allison Ullmann - Staff

A new ice cream shop, Frio, is tentatively scheduled to open at the end of July.

The shop, located at 1114 First Ave., is housed in a building owned by the Hotel Pattee. The building most recently housed Bits of Technology.

General Manager Aaron Lenz said the building came with the purchase of the Hotel Pattee. The building was used for storage, but Lenz and Owner Tom Maxwell wanted to find a use for it. Especially, Lenz said, with such a prominent storefront along 1st Avenue.

“When my family came to town, I said ‘let’s go get ice cream,’” he said. “We went over to Mars Dairy Bar, they were closed. I said to Tom ‘I know what this needs to be.’”

He added that typically he would have come up with five or six different options for what the building could be. But the ice cream shop idea, Lenz said, was a “no-brainer.”

Lenz stressed that the ice cream shop is an entirely independent operation from the Hotel Pattee. The shop, he said, will have a fun and colorful atmosphere.

Two freezers will be up front in the main area with a counter, soft serve machine and a place for toppings and candy. The walls will have chalkboard paint with the shop’s menu printed on them.

Another chalkboard wall will be featured in the main dining area.

“Kids can come up and color, whatever they want to do. It creates a fun space if you will,” Lenz said.

That fun space will continue outside as a large mural is being planned for the alley wall across from the City Hall building. Parking will not be allowed in the alley and table and chairs will be placed outside for people to sit with their ice cream.

Work is continuing on the shop, Lenz said, with electrical and plumbing. Once the interior work is completed, work can then shift to getting equipment, buying product, hiring employees and training.

Lenz said he doesn’t yet know what brand of ice cream will be featured at Frio. The selection and taste testing process will be happening soon.

The shop will feature around 20 varieties of ice cream, along with soft serve ice cream, shakes and malts. Lenz said he has had people ask if Frio will also feature food items.

“No, we’re going to do ice cream. We’re going to do it really well and we’re going to do ice cream,” he said. “Keep it simple and do it fast. Make it so people can be in and out with exactly what they want.”

The shop will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Lenz said the store will be open year-round for at least the first year.

“We want to see what the public wants,” he said.