Monday August 13, 2012

DALTON -- When Jon and Stephanie Friedman were students at the University of Buffalo over 20 years ago they spent a lot of time hanging out at a small sweet shop.

"I remembered thinking we’d like to have a store like this," Jon said.

Now, the Friedmans do.

The couple, educators at Craneville Elementary School with previous retail, customer and restaurant experience, opened SweetPea’s Ice Cream at 6 Depot St. The store features 28 flavors of ice cream, 16 from Hershey’s and 12 from Gifford’s of Maine.

"An ice cream shop has been a long-time dream," Stephanie said. "We have talked about this for 15 to 20 years."

Jon said they almost opened a store on Flansburg Avenue some nine years ago, but things didn’t work out.

"This spring, things fell into place and we took the leap," Stephanie said.

With two of their children in high school and a third in elementary school, the Friedmans decided to take the chance on operating their own business when the store front on Depot Street became available.

"Store space in Dalton is hard to find," Jon said. "This space had been open for a little while. It’s a little bigger than what we wanted, but space is at a premium so we decided to do it."

SweetPea Ice Cream is independently owned by the Friedmans. They’ve invested approximately $8,000 in personal savings to renovate the space, and purchase ice cream and supplies. The store’s five employees are all family members.

Prices range from $1.50 for mini-ice cream scoops for children, to $3.35 for triple scoop ice cream cones.

The store is currently open from 1-8 p.m. on Sunday; 12-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 12-10 p.m. on Friday. The hours and days will change once school starts in the fall.

Jon Friedman is a school adjustment counselor at Craneville, while Stephanie serves as the school’s dean of students. She has also served as a reading teacher for first and third graders.

The Friedman’s are interested in hosting local fundraisers, and birthday parties along with sponsoring local events.

"We hope that SweetPea’s will become a big part of the Dalton community," Stephanie said.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com; (413) 496-6224; On Twitter: @tonydobrow