BRATTLEBORO >> While walking downtown among the hot pavement this summer, a refreshing ice cream cone awaits locals and tourists inside a pastel colored parlor on Elliot Street.
"Other countries like Paris and the Caribbean are real colorful and we wanted to bring that into Brattleboro just to create a fun place to go," said co-owner of the Blueberry Haus, Brenda Knock, who shares the business with her husband, Dan. "It's colorful, pretty and fun, people say they just want to lick the building, though I wouldn't recommend it."
Known for their Blueberry Haus ice cream shop tucked away in Guilford, Dan and Brenda Knock brought their sweet business to 19 Elliot Street upon summer solstice of this year. In a matter of six weeks, the Knock family gutted out the former Maple Leaf Music space, expanding and connecting their retail shop, the Bs Nest, to the newly constructed sit-down ice cream parlor. While they had been serving ice cream inside the Bs Nest since its opening in 2014, Brenda said she felt this asset was not visible to customers. When the opportunity arose, the Knock family worked "late nights" to make a space available for customers to choose from 24 hard serve ice cream flavors as well as sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, homemade waffle cones and hot or iced coffee.
But the Knocks seem to have no trouble building on their customer base at their downtown location. When 3 p.m. struck on Wednesday afternoon, Dan and Brenda served 15 to 20 people who lined up for ice cream or browsed the retail store. Brenda notes that she and Dan have not had a day off for a couple of months and are in the process of hiring some additional part-time staff. Despite their jam packed schedule over the past few months, the couple says their familiar customer base is what helps them continue on with the work.
"It's just fun serving and meeting people and we always say customer service is our number one thing that we do," said Brenda.
Dan adds that for him the joy in the work is getting to know customers on a first name basis and witnessing the "wow factor" expressed across a child's face when they receive an ice cream cone.
On Wednesday afternoon, customers escaped the heat and enjoyed a sweet treat inside the shop. One Putney resident who is originally from New York City, Nazira Buranova, enjoyed a coffee flavored ice cream with her family.
"I think this is the best ice cream. I am a pastry chef so I value tastes and quality of food, and I think this is the best one so far in Vermont," said Buranova.
The Blueberry Haus serves Blake's Ice Cream, which is based out of Manchester, N.H. Brenda says they offer "award winning" flavors. The Blueberry Haus has served ice cream to the community since 2006 and has had its blueberry field open to the public since 1991. Brenda said she thinks the Guilford ice cream shop will be the relaxing "destination," whereas the Elliot Street spot will offer more convenience to central customers.
At the downtown location guests have the choice of shopping at the Bs Nest or sitting down at any of the six tables inside the shop, or at the two turquoise tables outside. The Knocks also hope to bring further happiness to their customers by offering birthday parties inside the ice cream parlor, where children can enjoy a cold sweet treat while playing board games with friends. For information about booking a birthday party or about the Blueberry Haus downtown, call Brenda at 802-246-7050.
The Blueberry Haus downtown and Bs Nest are open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 9 p.m.
"Nothing on Elliot Street stays open past 6 p.m. that I know of besides the restaurants," said Brenda. "Customers have wanted the downtown to stay open later, I've heard tons of people say they want businesses to stay open later."
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275