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Furniture City Creamery to open doors in East Hills neighborhood in May

This summer a new ice cream shop will open on Cherry Street in East Hills.
Window logo

Window logo /Eric Tank

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Furniture City Creamery

Rachel Franko, co-owner

Rachel Franko, co-owner /Eric Tank

Window logo

Window logo /Eric Tank

If all goes according to plan, Matt and Rachel Franko will be serving up ice cream in East Hills come May. Furniture City Creamery will be the newest purveyor of local edibles to set up shop on the ever growing Cherry Street business district between Diamond and Eastern Avenues. 

Located in proximity to favorite culinary locales like Brewery Vivant, Muru Sushi, The Green Well and Grove, Furniture City Creamery wants to be more than an ice cream shop. Co-owner Rachel Franko says she wants to engage with the community by providing opportunities for locals to showcase their products. 

"I want it to be an interactive space. I want it to be a friendly environment where people can get involved and feel comfortable with and not just be a place where you come in and get ice cream. It's not just about us. It's about highlighting things going on around Grand Rapids. I really want to focus on that. We really want to be a place where people can get their start and highlight others." 

Husband and wife team Rachel and Matt Franko started making ice cream and selling it at Mitten Brewing Company in small batches last summer. The success of the product encouraged the couple to take it a step further. 

She plans to keep using her same recipes and adding quite a few more flavors including vegan options. The dipping cabinet holds 14 flavors including four that will be dairy free. Rachel is currently working on her cone recipe and her caramel and chocolate sauces, which are also dairy free. 

The building will have a kitchen installed and the opportunity for baking which could lead to other treats like cupcakes and cookies in the future. The layout is very transparent with large windows on the street facade. The east wall will have the kitchen, refrigerator and dipping cabinet. A bar will be installed along the west wall with counter storage cabinets.

The south end has an exit to a small patio, enclosed by adjacent buildings creating an outdoor seating area with garden area for herbs like mint to be grown for flavor recipes. An entranceway off of Cherry Street through an iron gate leads along the building to the back patio. The space will be pet friendly. 

The Frankos recognize the importance of not imposing their idea of a place on a particular neighborhood with its own unique vision, needs and desires. That is why they have reached out to area business owners and brought their idea before the East Hills Council of Neighbors board. 

"We're coming to a neighborhood, we're looking at buying a building- we want to make sure that the neighborhood is okay with what we're doing and what we're bringing to the neighborhood. I think it's important for everyone to be on board with what you're doing and be involved," says Rachel. "I really want this to be a community piece. I want it to be interactive. I want it to be a development space and things to be changing and having different flavors and having the community involved in that. It's really important that they support us and get behind what we're trying to do because we don't want this to be a stale location that's not lively. We want people to interact. We want to see faces coming in that we recognize and can see day in and day out. So it's important that they understand what we're doing and they're behind that."

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