To put it in ice cream terminology, Port Moody’s Rocky Point Ice Cream is going from a single scoop to a fully-dressed sundae.
The cherry on top will be a new 6,000-sq. ft. production facility Rocky Point proprietors Jamie and Yvette Cuthbert plan to open at the nearby Western Safety fire and safety equipment warehouse they recently acquired.
For the Cuthberts, who started Rocky Point Ice Cream in 1997 as an adjunct to their kayak rental business in Rocky Point Park, taking their brand to the next level is as much about their commitment to the community in which it was born as it is about being able to make more frozen delights.
The new facility will allow the Cuthberts' staff to produce more than 600 litres of ice cream an hour, up from the 170,000 litres they can make in an entire year in the 14-by-20-foot production space they currently lease near Moody Ales.
Their ice cream will go to its shop next to the pool at Rocky Point Park, two food trucks and a trailer that are dispatched to farmers' markets and community events around Metro Vancouver, as well as two new outlets — one in New Westminster set to open in May and another in Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park that will anchor a new food concession area planned for this summer. Rocky Point also wholesales its ice cream to concession operators at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver as well as Stanley Park.
But with the Flavelle Lands and Moody Centre poised for redevelopment, Jamie Cuthbert said he was reluctant to commit to expanding his current leased facility only to see it overwhelmed by ballooning property values. So he began casting as far afield as Port Coquitlam for a bigger space. It was serendipity and a connection with the family that owns Western Safety that presented an opportunity to meet Rocky Point’s expanding need for ice cream right across the skateboard park from the location of its first concession.
“We couldn’t really pass it up,” Cuthbert said. “We can stay in Port Moody. It shows our commitment to the community.”
Yvette Cuthbert said the new facility, which will be more like a micro-creamery, will also allow them to have better control over the consistency and quality of their product, which they first started making on their own in 2013 after both she and Jaimie attended a kind of five-day ice cream boot camp at Ontario's University of Guelph.
“Making ice cream is complicated,” Yvette Cuthbert said, adding even the volume of air that gets into the ice cream as flavours are mixed in and it’s poured into tubs can affect the flavour, so having more efficient control will make a better product from start to finish.
But going bigger won’t mean losing touch with what has made their ice cream so beloved, she said. They’ll still source ingredients like fruit locally, and they’re still small enough to adjust Rocky Point’s roster of more than 150 flavours according to the taste demands of their customers.
“If sweet and salty is hot, we can do that,” she said, adding vegan and non-dairy ice creams are also gaining popularity.
Jamie Cuthbert said while the design of the new facility is still in its early stages, he envisions an open space where visitors can watch how the ice cream is made, then enjoy it in the café or on the adjacent outdoor patio.
“We’ve built a brand that’s great but now we have greater expectations,” he said.