Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Bigger Devon House I’Scream shop coming

Published:Friday | June 24, 2016 | 6:00 AMTameka Gordon
Carol Clarke-Webster, head of Scoops Un-Limited Limited.

A new Devon House I'Scream shop is to be built on the grounds of the historic attraction as operator Scoops Un-Limited Limited tries to keep pace with the demand for its popular products.

More intriguing, Scoops Un-Limited is to roll out a vegetable-flavoured ice cream at the opening of the new shop.

The renowned ice cream parlour has outgrown its courtyard and gazebo locations with customers often faced with very long lines "with numerous complaints" received over the years, Janette Taylor, executive director of Devon House Development Company (DHDC), told the Financial Gleaner.

"We have so people many coming here and the lines are so long, especially on holidays; people come and the shops close before they get their ice cream," Taylor said.

The new shop, for which ground was broken on Wednesday, is being built on the east lawns of Devon House with some $28 million in funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). At 5,000 square feet, it will more than double the courtyard shop's 1,200 square feet.

"It will have a veranda, so if there is a line, people will not be in the sun. The car park over here is bigger, so it will make life easier for the public coming to get ice cream," Taylor said.

Construction should take five months. The job has been contracted to Otiga Engineering.

Alongside the new shop, the plan is to keep the gazebo, but a decision is pending on the courtyard shop, said marketing and events manager AndrÈ Reid.

"What we are focusing on now is to ensure that the customer experience is enhanced," he said, though he did say the courtyard shop may be eliminated eventually.

Scoops Un-Limited, headed by Carol Clarke-Webster, has been the tenant, operators and manufacturers of Devon House ice cream for 27 years. Scoops Un-Limited handles the distribution, selling and the promotion of the ice cream products.

Over time, Devon House I'Scream has expanded distribution through partnerships in and outside of Kingston.

The DHDC, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, owns the brand Devon House I'Scream.

Clarke-Webster says additional staff will be hired for the new shop, but did not specify the number of jobs available.

"It will be a bigger store and we are hoping to be able to serve more customers and serve them in a faster way," she said.

Scoops Un-Limited is developing new flavours which will be launched when the new shop opens near the end of the year. One of those flavours is carrot, another is piÒa colada, Clarke-Webster said.

At Wednesday's ground-breaking ceremony, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said $10 million would be spent sprucing up the restrooms and the Great House at the Devon House complex.

TEF has, over the years, spent in excess of $100 million on rehabilitation and beautification projects at the national landmark, including converting the old nursery into a wedding pavilion, installation of extensive lighting and roof repairs, and the building of a perimeter fence.

Devon House and the ice cream sold there have received accolades from international travel site TripAdvisor, with certificates of excellence received for 2014, 2015 and 2016, Reid said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com