A new-to-market ice cream brand will be slinging cones and pints out of a former Starbucks.
Blue Cow Ice Cream Co. plans to open in June at 7017 Three Chopt Road in the Publix-anchored Village Shopping Center.
The shop is expected to have seating for 36 people. The company’s stores sell about a dozen flavors year-round and supplement that lineup with seasonal offerings.
“I think we have some unique flavor pairings we put together. We feel we put out a high-quality product and we make nearly everything from scratch,” Blue Cow owner Jason Kiser said.
Among Blue Cow’s flavors are a goat cheese ice cream with a blueberry swirl and a carrot cake variety. The company also serves non-dairy ice cream.
The local store will sell single scoops of ice cream for $4.75 and pints for $8.50.
The Richmond-area expansion, which Kiser said has been on Blue Cow’s radar for some time, comes after the company opened shops in Fredericksburg in 2021 and Virginia Beach in 2019. The company, which launched in 2017, has plans for additional locations in the state.
“It’s been in our plans (to expand to Richmond) and now was an opportune time,” Kiser said. “It’s a strong market and we feel like we have a product that will do well.”
The local outpost won’t produce ice cream. Blue Cow consolidates its production in Roanoke, where the company is based and operates an ice cream shop. Kiser declined to share how much ice cream the company makes annually.
“We control the product here locally and open corporately owned stores where we think they will do well,” Kiser said.
The 1,700-square-foot space was previously occupied by a Starbucks. Jim Ashby of Thalhimer represented the landlord in lease negotiations.
Kiser said renovations were underway, though somewhat slowed by supply-chain issues. He declined to share his investment in the space.
“There’s been a little bit of slowdown with some supply chain things going on and a few things slowing down our process,” he said. “Most everything is in good shape. But evidently there’s a foam shortage, the foam they spray between panels of walk-in freezers.”
While Blue Cow operates an ice cream truck in Roanoke, there aren’t immediate plans to do the same in the Richmond area on a permanent basis.
“We might get the truck over there from time to time but we’re not planning to build one for the (Richmond) market anytime soon,” Kiser said.
Blue Cow offers delivery through third-party delivery apps but is deciding whether to do the same here, with Kiser citing the fees associated with the service as a hang-up.
Blue Cow has partnered with businesses in its other markets to produce location-specific flavors, and Kiser said he was interested in a similar partnership with a local coffee roaster or other company in the Richmond area.
At Village, Blue Cow joins local restaurant chain Bell Greek, which is also planning to open a location in the shopping center.
In other ice cream news, Spotty Dog Ice Cream Co. is planning a shop in Church Hill.