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Photo by Benji Nichols THE SUGAR BOWL (photo off second-story balcony) 410 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa www.sugarbowlicecream.com Owner: Craig Running Open seasonally Craig Running knew a good thing when he saw it. A longtime Decorah resident – he was raised in the town – Running believed buying retail space along the town’s main Water Street was a “win-win situation” when he seized the opportunity in 1999. “I tore down the rental building that was here and then spent eight years designing and building this space,” he says of the Sugar Bowl, the balconied, two-storied ice cream parlor he opened in 2008. “I thought that there was a niche market for quality, handdipped ice cream, and I was pretty sure it would work…who doesn’t love ice cream?” Who indeed – especially when that ice cream is made by the Chocolate Shoppe, an award-winning producer of hand-dipped ice cream headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. According to Running, it was more than serendipity that led him to select the Chocolate Shoppe as his ice cream vendor. “I had a conversation with a man who made it a point to mention that the best ice cream he had ever had was from the Chocolate Shoppe,” he says. “I called up the company and told them I was opening an 12

Summer 2014 / iloveinspired.com

ice cream shop, and they immediately sent 16 different pints to my front door. By the time I polished off the first pint, the decision had been made.” Running currently dishes up 24 different flavors of the Chocolate Shoppe’s ice cream from his dipping station, with choices ranging from Old Fashioned Vanilla to Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (cheesecakeflavored ice cream with raspberry flavoring, Oreos, and chocolate chunks). The most popular flavors? Zanzibar Chocolate (containing three kinds of cocoa) and Zoreo (made of Zanzibar ice cream, marshmallows, Oreos, and chocolate chunks). And while ice cream remains the star of this Water Street establishment, its décor – described by Running as “industrial deco” – has garnered plenty of admirers as well. The bright-white building contains a treasure trove of antiques, from a 1952 Whizzer motorbike to a Popsicle Red Ball Express train (one of only about 200 made). “It was a long process, but I enjoyed acquiring these items,” he says. “I had collected and restored cars, trucks, and motorcycles for a long time so it wasn’t such a stretch to start collecting and restoring things that were displayable here.” As Running envisioned when he opened the Sugar Bowl, the combination of rich-and-creamy ice cream and eye-catching antiques has proved irresistible for many a Decorah resident and visitor. “It’s been quite successful,” he says with a smile. “And business gets better every year.”

Profile for Inspire(d) Media

Inspire(d) Summer 2014  

Growing the Market – Farmers Photo Essay • Driftless Region Ice Cream • Iowa Food Hub • Driftless Edge Farm Hops • Five Places You Should Vi...

Inspire(d) Summer 2014  

Growing the Market – Farmers Photo Essay • Driftless Region Ice Cream • Iowa Food Hub • Driftless Edge Farm Hops • Five Places You Should Vi...