From the first month he opened his hard-scoop ice cream shop in Buffalo, What’s the Scoop? owner Brady Elsenpeter knew he wanted his second location in St. Michael-Albertville. He liked the small-town feel of the area, the recent growth, and the fact that nothing similar existed in the communities. It took a few years to come to fruition, but now the second What’s the Scoop? location is off to a busy start this summer in its downtown St. Michael location.
Elsenpeter started his career as an electrician, but he always had entrepreneurial interests in mind. He decided to open a car dealership in Buffalo, where he was born and raised, but he got out of the business over 10 years later, when he said it got to be too much for one guy. He needed to either expand or get out, but soon a new business idea began to take shape when Elsenpeter, an auction shopper, spotted ice cream equipment for sale in an online auction. A connection from his days in the dealership business helped him find the right location in downtown Buffalo, and the first What’s the Scoop? location opened its doors in September 2017.
Since then, What’s the Scoop? was voted third best in the state for ice cream parlors in a Twin Cities Live competition, just a year after opening its doors. Last year, the Wright County Economic Development Partnership gave Elsenpeter the Entrepreneur of the Year award, and just recently, What’s the Scoop? won awards for Star Tribune’s Best of Minnesota contest in both the best frozen treat and best frozen dessert categories.
What’s the Scoop? serves 40 flavors of hard-scoop ice cream, along with ice cream cakes, shakes, malts, floats and sundaes. Elsenpeter said they take care to work with food allergies, offering a dairy-free option, gluten-free cone, and nut precautions. In addition to the two locations, the business also includes a mobile truck that individuals and businesses can hire out for birthday parties, weddings, graduations, corporate events and more.
“I used to bartend when I was young, and my goal was to own a bar because I loved the communication and relationships I built with people,” he said. “In the ice cream world, it’s the exact same, except we get to deal with kids and we don’t deal with alcohol. It’s just such a fun, fun business to be in.”