Ice Cream Factory to deliver free scoops during statewide Happiness tour

MITCH PRENTICE
Ice Cream Factory owners Shannon and Katie Imler stand in front of the tour trailer that will house the many gallons of free ice cream.

In just over a year since their first location opened in Eldon, the Ice Cream Factory brand has taken the state of Missouri by storm. With a new store opening in Jefferson City and the product now being available in 80 locations, including supermarkets and even the newly created Lake of the Ozarks Ice Cream Boat, it’s safe to say things are going well for Owners Shannon and Katie Imler.

To continue the spread of the brand and to bring a little joy to other communities around the state, the Ice Cream Factory announced that they will be kicking off the Happiness Tour 2020 on July 24. The tour travel through 132 cities, handing out free ice cream scoops for 14 days straight.

Shannon says they will stop for 30 minutes at each city, scoop as much free ice cream as they can, then move on to the next.

“Our goal is to bring the ice cream to as many new customers as we can and also make them happy in these uncertain times,” Shannon said.

The tour will have 350 tubs of ice cream ready to serve out of a branded Ice Cream Factory trailer that will be moved around by not only the Imlers, but also employees of their Eldon and Jefferson City branches. The tour won’t be making any stops in the lake area, as Shannon says the opportunities for customers to buy the ice cream are plentiful in almost every town across the Ozarks.

Shannon says the store has a small group that is constantly coming up with new and ambitious ideas to continue spreading the brand name, and this was one that stuck almost immediately. The trailer will run off a generator to keep the freezers cool and between each branch of the store, the freezers will be reloaded at the Eldon location.

Looking at the tour ahead, Shannon says the path the store has taken in just over a year’s time has surpassed his and his wife’s expectations. He says the goal at the beginning was simply to open a high-quality ice cream store in Eldon for the area to enjoy. Once opportunities came forward to start selling the product in stores, the growth continued and it still is to this day.

The growth of the Eldon location has also brought with it some challenges in having enough space to continue serving their client base. With the 14,000 sqft facility now available, Shannon anticipates expansion to the business soon. However, whatever plan is put into place to expand, Shannon guarantees that the store will remain in Eldon and continue serving the community it was created in.

Even with the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic, the two locations Ice Cream Factory has have seen better sales than last year at this time. Shannon says they are proud to have been able to supply the community with even a small scoop of joy in these times.

With a number of new businesses blooming in Eldon in recent years, including the recent 200,000 sqft Quaker Window plant, Shannon says that they feel like they are helping Eldon grow into something bigger and better. And by the end of the 14-day Happiness Tour, who knows where the brand may continue to spread.

“We’ve been advertising to the whole state ‘Come to Eldon. The Ice Cream Factory is in Eldon,’” Shannon said. “I would love to think that we can help contribute to the growth of Eldon as a whole. We’re here, we will continue to be here and we aren’t going anywhere.”