I had the pleasure of meeting up with Elissa, owner of Wild Scoops, and finally got to know the business beyond my waffle cone addiction. Her energy was down-to-earth and welcoming, much like the vibe you get walking into the Scoop Shop and Test Kitchen. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this gem, let me catch you up to speed.
Wild Scoops launched in 2015 after Elissa moved to Anchorage with her husband and noticed a lack of local ice cream in town. Begining as a hobby at home, hosting monthly custom ice cream tastings, Wild Scoops was created to highlight quality local flavors around the Last Frontier. Originally from California, this transplant’s love and appreciation for the “scrappy, underdog” community she has rooted herself in has earned her cred as an Alaskan business owner. Now nestled into downtown Anchorage, this ever evolving micro-creamery had to laydown its own roots before setting up shop. After two years of pop-ups and local farmer’s markets, even leasing kitchen space from Mad Myrna’s, Wild Scoops opened their first brick and mortar location just last summer.
The Downtown Scoop Shop between Fat Ptarmigan and Hard Rock Cafe, can be recognized by the line of both tourists and locals tracing the block in the summer. To avoid those crowds, check out the Test Kitchen and see where Wild Scoops craft and package all their magic. On 15th and Gamble the kitchen opens its doors to the public every Thursday, between 4-6:30pm, sampling flavors and selling pre-packed pints. Meanwhile, open Tuesday-Sunday, the cozy little shop downtown carries a rotation of different pints, vegan and gluten free ice cream sandwiches, and if you’re in luck, tundra tacos.
In the case are 8 of the 200+ flavors Wild Scoops has crafted thus far. You can try them in a cup, sugar cone, or fresh warm waffle cone. Ask to make it a Baked Alaska and the Scooper will pipe handmade marshmallow fluff on your cone and torch it on the spot. If you can’t decide on a flavor and need some variety, the Sampler Flight encourages you to explore four wild flavors. My personal favorite, the Frozen Nachos, offers three scoops of ice cream on a bed of their handmade cinnamon + star anise waffle chips, topped with hot fudge sauce and chipotle nuts.
By now, I’m sure your mouth is watering and you’re already checking out Wild Scoops online, ready to get those bomb ass frozen nachos I just told you about. But, this isn’t just another put-on to good food around town. This company, like the many others I support, is deeply rooted in and dedicated to its community. With such a grassroots upbringing, the business’s success obviously depends on the customers it services. While others play it safe and cater to tourists, Wild Scoops crafts adventurous flavors Alaskans can appreciate. Locally sourcing most of their ingredients, choosing local vendors and collaborating with other local businesses (Kaladi Brothers, VooDoo Jams, Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co. and Dipper Donuts to name a few), WS continues to stand by their community. With Elissa’s background in teaching, she couldn’t help but bring Wild Scoops to the Anchorage School District, hosting annual ice cream classes at schools like Fairview Elementary. Keep an eye out for raffles and collaborations with other companies an organizations in the future, like the upcoming Olympic Scoop Loop, a family friendly 5K with Olympian Rosie Frankowski.
Though the gig is literally sweet, sometimes it’s not so simple bringing wild flavors to the land of the midnight sun. Locally sourcing ingredients is great for the local economy but can be tough on overhead. Finding reliable farmers and vendors can be difficult, not to mention an unpredicatble demand and the fluctuating nature of produce. Being so far from the lower 48 can affect shipping times and delay production. The price of commerical property in Anchorage is becoming outrageous, so the thought of expansion can be deterring. Nevertheless, Wild Scoops continues to provide amazing ice cream and outstanding service to Alaskans because they believe it takes a village to make a flavor, and the challenges of business won’t compromise that.
So, if you love empowering small businesses (or simply like good ice cream) and want to see this amazing company grow:
Grab a cone, buy a hoodie, and share this post!
BTW- Wild Scoops is currently hiring if you want to join a team of passionate, positive, and responsible Alaskans making good stuff.