Stagg grad helps run Milwaukee ice cream venture with unusual flavors
Stagg grad helps run Milwaukee ice cream venture with unusual flavorsA Palos Heights native who churned her childhood dream into a reality is bringing her cool creations to the Chicago area.
Former Palos Heights resident Lauren Schultz and her husband Steve are the faces behind Purple Door Ice Cream, a successful ice cream business in the Milwaukee area. The couple is beginning to distribute their frozen concoctions to the Chicago area where Schultz believes it will satisfy many sweet tooths with dairyland ingredients and original flavors.
Lauren said that they are in several stores in Chicago now and that they hope to be in more stores and potentially restaurants.
Chicagoans looking to purchase a pint can swing by any Treasure Island Foods or Sunset Foods grocery stores, Mariano’s in Elmhurst, or Whole Foods in the city’s South Loop area. Distribution into Cook and DuPage Counties is expected to grow over the coming months.
Purple Door’s top pint sellers are Salted Caramel, Raspberry Green Tea, Mint Chip, Espresso and vanilla. However, visitors to their location will get to choose from a wider selection that includes Chai with Pink Peppercorn, Whiskey, and Fair Trade Banana Chocolate Walnut. Soon to be added to this list is a beer flavored ice cream.
“We’re based in Milwaukee,” Lauren said. “How could we not do a beer flavored ice cream?”
Known for including local dairy products in their ice cream, Purple Door’s owners also use neighboring businesses to roast their coffee beans and supply their whiskey. Each flavor is made in small batches using butterfat that is then frozen for 12 minutes. The coffee and tea flavors require several days of preparation.
A 1997 graduate of Stagg High School, Lauren spent her childhood summers at Plush Horse Ice Cream Parlor in Palos Park. The idea to open up her own ice cream store came to her while enjoying the treat with her friends. “I had the dream to open up my own store sometime in middle school. I knew I loved ice cream and I always thought an ice cream store was a place where people are happy,” she said.
Upon graduating from high school, Lauren obtained a bachelors’ degree in graphic design at the University of Dayton before completing the masters’ program in deaf education at the University of Minnesota. It was there where she met her husband, Steve. On their first date, Lauren told him about her dream of opening an ice cream parlor. “Steve thought it was a great idea. Even after we spent several rewarding years in education, he remembered my dream and thought we should give it a shot,” she said.
After moving to Milwaukee in 2008 to be closer to their families, the couple decided it was time to start their ice cream business.
“We were nervous at first,” Lauren said. “We weren’t sure how the community would take it. Milwaukee is a custard town.”
But word of their cold treat made with local ingredients spread and within months Purple Door ice cream was being served in a handful of restaurants and sold at the nearby food co-op. Since then Purple Door’s business continues to grow.
They spend their time running their business and raising their two sons aged three and one. They manage one fulltime and one part-time employee and are currently preparing for their move to a larger store to accommodate their growing number of customers. Future business plans include increasing distribution sites in Chicagoland grocery stores and restaurants.