RICHMOND, Va. -- Like clockwork. Five days a week. At the intersection of Nine Mile Road and 26th Street one of the coolest places in Church Hill arrives on two wheels.
“So, we are always anticipating the first customer. Come on. Come on. Come on,” said Alfonso Clarke. “It is really beaming today. Yeah.”
Mobile relief from the sweltering days. The Neighborhood Scoop opened last Labor Day.
It’s the brain child of neighbors Lawson Wijesooriya and Alfonso Clarke.
“We’re still in our infancy,” said Lawson.
“I’ve been a passionate consumer of ice cream but never thought of selling it,” he added.
Alfonso is a New Jersey native moved to Church Hill in 2004. He knows these streets well.
“I grew up in Fairfield Court in the 1960’s,” said Clarke.
A couple of years ago Lawson hatched an idea to fill a void or rather cone.
“I thought I have enough passion for ice cream so let’s give it a whirl,” said Lawson.
But this isn't your run of the mill ice cream truck. The people behind Scoop are on a mission.
To satisfy sweet teeth and lift a community through soft serve and sorbet.
“Who doesn’t love ice cream,” said Clarke.
“For Alfonso and I this is about our community. This is where we live. This is where we work. This is where we want to do ice cream,” said Lawson.
Don't expect Lawson and Alfonso to pull up stakes with lots of success.
“When people line up and they do have what you want, it makes the work worth it,” said Lawson.
These business owners are here to stay much to the delight of loyal customers. Lawson and Alfonso are proving ice cream is the great unifier no matter how you serve it.
“As a whole we haven’t found a demographic that doesn’t like coming to the Scoop,” said Lawson.
The Neighborhood Scoop is the Taste of the town.
“We’re bringing people closer and that is what it is about,” says Clarke.
“You know we are in the business of joy and fun and community,” said Lawson. “Because everyone is happy once they have ice cream.”
The Scoop is truly a community affair. Lawson and Alfonso are hiring teenagers from the neighborhood. For some it’s their first summer job. The Neighborhood Scoop is open Wednesday through Sunday from 2pm to 9pm at the corner of Nine Mile Road and 26th Street in Church Hill.
If you know of someone with an interesting story to tell, email Greg McQuade.