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SoCo debuts Main Street soft-serve shop

The second SoCo location is a nice complement to the existing scoop shop on Railroad Street, consistent with the values of the company to provide “healthful, self-indulgent treats.”

Great Barrington — A slow but steady trickle of curious passersby made their way to 280 Main Street last evening, for the grand opening of SoCo Creamery too, the local scoop shop’s second location which will be serving up all-natural frozen yogurt, soft-serve ice cream and sorbet this summer. Nicole Bessey, the shop’s manager, cited lack of space at the Railroad Street location as an impetus for the brand’s expansion; there was simply no room in the original scoop shop to accommodate customers’ imploring SoCo to carry frozen yogurt. Their expansion to the former Fro-Yo World location, vacated in the fall of 2015, seemed a timely opportunity to build on the offerings SoCo has already established in a physical space that has “great bones.”

This is “exciting for the community” said Bessey, standing in front of a pristine and colorful mosaic tile wall sporting five shiny, stainless steel soft-serve machines. SoCo too is proud to offer an all-natural product line, featuring frozen yogurt mix from Ronnybrook Farm in nearby Ancramdale, New York, and soft-serve mix made from milk and cream provided by Crescent Creamery in Pittsfield. The benefits of yogurt, long since acknowledged in other parts of the world, continue to gain steam as a trend on the rise in America. Traditionally easier on the system than other dairy products, its active probiotics help in its own digestion, making it a good choice for many who are lactose intolerant and can’t eat ice cream. In addition, SoCo’s signature sorbet will provide a gluten-free, dairy free, fat free, GMO free option consisting of nothing but fresh fruit, water, and pure cane sugar.

A reproduction of a painting by Tanya Mazursky hangs on the wall of SoCo too, 'a symbol of all-natural ice cream nirvana.' Photo: Hannah Barrett
A reproduction of a painting by Tanya Mazursky hangs on the wall of SoCo too, ‘a symbol of all-natural ice cream nirvana.’ Photo: Hannah Barrett

Matthew Scott, resident ice-cream maker and Flavor Master in both SoCo locations, has a conservative menu of flavors on display for the opening, explaining he was “easing [his] way in” at the start. The frozen yogurt flavors range from chocolate, vanilla and plain to coffee, caramel, and black raspberry; the ice cream flavors are chocolate and vanilla while the sorbet, boasting alphonso mango and Lisbon lemon, packed the most daring punch. All of the bases are hand-made in the Great Barrington shop, featuring all-natural, organic produce from Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, as well as other house-made specialties like caramel. The toppings, a conservative 20 to start, feature a dizzying array of fresh fruit, nuts, cookies pieces, sprinkles, as well as the locally made Bola granola.

Both SoCo Creamery and SoCo too are owned by Berkshire Opportunity Fund, LLC, a group of investors headed by Great Barrington resident and CEO, Erik Bruun. In a conversation Friday morning, Bruun was quick to note, “Five frozen yogurt machines do not make a year round business.” That said, it is soon to be summer in the Berkshires and the brand most certainly has a “seasonally appropriate starting point,” according to Bruun. He sees the second SoCo location as a nice complement to the existing scoop shop on Railroad Street and an opportunity to do the kinds of things there is demand for while keeping consistent with the values of the company — namely, to provide “healthful, self-indulgent treats.”

SoCo Creamery too opened Friday (June 10) at 280 Main Street in Great Barrington, extending the SoCo brand to frozen yogurt from its popular ice cream shop on Railroad Street. Photo: Hannah Barrett
SoCo Creamery too opened Friday (June 10) at 280 Main Street in Great Barrington, extending the SoCo brand to frozen yogurt from its popular ice cream shop on Railroad Street. Photo: Hannah Barrett

Bruun recognizes the task at hand, and readily acknowledges that, “making a seasonal product a year round attraction is the challenge.” SoCo too will most certainly evolve based on the needs of its customer base, “as [the shop gets] accustomed to not only the space but also the market.” Over at the scoop shop people have been asking for frozen yogurt, and SoCo responded; teenagers have been asking for bubble tea, a Taiwanese tea-based drink blended with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls or fruit jellies are often added, and this is in the works. Fresh juices and fresh fruit smoothies are planned as well, according to Bessey.

Perhaps the artwork that graces not only the employees’ t-shirts but also the wall of SoCo too is the most telling of all: it is a female, sitting cross-legged, with her eyes closed holding an ice cream cone between her palms. The image, reproduced from an original work by Tanya Mazursky, the wife of SoCo’s former owner Danny Mazursky, was recently unearthed during a renovation on Railroad Street, and the image is being resuscitated in the new shop . “It’s a symbol for purity, all-natural, ice cream nirvana,” says Bessey with a smile. And I’d have to concur. SoCo too is open Monday-Thursday, from noon-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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