Opening a frozen dessert shop during October in a lake town is not ideal, and not what they had planned.
But Skip and Amy Sturgeon, owners of Skipper’s in Monticello, have made the best of it and have found many silver linings.
Because it is their first time operating such a shop, the learning curve was big and huge summer lines might have been overwhelming.
“We got a dose of what summer may be like those first few weeks,” Skip Sturgeon said. “We had large crowds and struggled with the flow of people at times. We will certainly change a few things come summertime to get people through the store more efficiently.”
While not busy, the flow has been steady through the winter. Skip contributes that to location, great tasting products, and his wife’s social media savvy.
“Amy has done a fantastic job with social media,” he said. “She understands the importance of it in today’s world and does a great job promoting our products.”
Skipper’s has five basic products: Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet and smoothies. They also have gourmet popcorn, bottled drinks, and Skipper’s apparel.
Skipper’s is a nautical-themed self-serve frozen dessert shop that boasts six machines that rotate 18 different flavors at a time. The Sturgeons say they are committed to having a dairy-free option and a no sugar added option at all times.
Nearly all flavors are gluten-free.
“I don’t think we have offered a bad flavor,” Amy said, to which Skip added, “I’m normally a chocolate and caramel type of guy, so I am surprised by how much I like the fruity flavors.”
And if the different products and dietary labels are not important to you, Skip said to just ignore them.
“All of our products are delicious. I think the no sugar added strawberry banana is my favorite, or a close second to the chocolate gelato,” Skip said.
Skipper’s offers sample cups, and they encourage people to pull several handles to see what products they like best.
Skipper’s is not a place for the indecisive. Once people have chosen a flavor, it’s time to choose a cup size, waffle cone, or waffle bowl. After filling it with as much or little as one likes, and as many or few flavors as desired, people can head to the syrup bar — in the shape of a ship, of course — and choose from about 15 different syrups.
After that, there is the toppings bar that houses more than 50 different choices. There are fruits, nuts, candies, boba, mochi, and cookies available to top off the frozen treat.
The cashier then weighs the creation, which is paid for by the ounce.
Skipper’s slogan is, “Be the captain of your own creation.”
“Skipper’s is all about choice; you decide what you want and how much you want,” Amy said. “Your creativity and the atmosphere are what makes it fun. We love seeing all the happy people.”
Meeting people is what the Sturgeons said they have enjoyed most about the business.
“If we would have opened in the summer, we would have been so busy that we would not have gotten the opportunity to form the relationships with customers nearly as well as we have,” Skip said. “It has been a blessing getting to know many of the locals, and we already have an established group of regulars.”
Skipper’s has also become involved with many local community organizations, donating to causes and supporting events.
“Being involved in and supporting our community has always been a focus for us as a family, so doing it as a business has come naturally,” Skip said.