Lawson Wijesooriya’s The Neighborhood Scoop opened yesterday at 26th and Nine Mile just in time for the long weekend. The Neighborhood Scoop has both soft serve and hard “hand packed” ice cream made by Gelati Celesti.
The shop will be open for September and October in the trailer parked at 1400 North 26th Street, with plans to makeover the building and landscape over the next year. Regular hours for the remainder of the season will be Thurs noon-9PM, Fri&Sat noon-10PM, and Sun noon-9PM.
“The vision for an ice cream shop in Church Hill came to me on Mama Blount’s porch in the summer of 2014, ” says Lawson, “As I was lamenting the lack of a proper ice cream shop nearby, she told me of her memories of High’s Ice Cream. […] I immediately began dreaming of wanting to “bring back” her sense of the local place where everyone walked to experience the joy and community of ice cream.”
Given Lawson’s former role as the Executive Director Blue Sky Fund, it’s no surprise that her vision for a simple business spirals to include cultural relevance, the capability for jobs training, and community level ownership – and all while bringing the JOY of ice cream closer to home.
“I believe there is a need for and a desire to have local businesses that strive to bring Church Hill together and are sustained by the buying power and customer demands of both “sides” of the neighborhood, ” says Lawson. “There are a million reasons why this is difficult and why it does not happen naturally. I believe with fierce commitment and intentionality, an ice cream shop has great potential be a business for all of Church Hill.”
“Our mission is to provide a gathering place for all to experience the joy of ice cream and the connection of community. In a rapidly changing neighborhood, we want to be a business that remains accessible, affordable, and welcoming. We hire local young people needing opportunity, we commit to be a good neighbor, and we care about history, sense of place, and our customer experience.”
The Neighborhood Scoop is across 26th Street from the Bon Secours Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center (where the Front Porch Cafe coffee shop should open in the next month or so), adjacent to the sites of the planned grocery store and J. Sargent Reynolds Culinary Institute, and across Nine Mile from the recently repopulated 26th/27th/28th Streets.