LOCKPORT – Lake Effect Ice Cream – the increasingly popular locally made artisan brand whose flavors include Candy Apple, Salty Caramel and Peanut Butter Epiphany – will move its operations to Lockport’s Canal Street next spring.
The Common Council voted Wednesday to sell Lake Effect a vacant city-owned building at 79-81 Canal St. for $50,000.
Jason Wulf, co-owner of Lake Effect with Erik Bernardi, said the ice cream will be made and sold in the 2,000-square-foot building on a pedestrian-only street overlooking the Erie Canal locks.
The four-year-old company’s operations have been centered in a former billiard hall on Lock Street, just around the corner from the new location. The deal includes entry to a parking lot behind the Canal Street building, accessible from Ontario Street.
Besides the manufacturing plant, the east end of the building will become what Wulf called a “scoop shop,” selling the ice cream by the cone or dish. The Lock Street location saw 46,000 visitors when it was open from May through October, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.
Wulf said the new shop will stay open longer, although probably not all year. He also said the company plans to construct an addition of 450 to 500 square feet to accommodate more ice cream freezers.
Lake Effect also is sold at several Tops Markets and other local stores. “We’ve been contacted by a relatively large distributor,” said Wulf. He and Bernardi continue to run the ice cream business while holding down full-time teaching jobs at Lockport High School.
“That business is ready to explode,” Tucker said. “It could be the next Ben and Jerry’s. It’s the Bye’s Popcorn of ice cream,” the mayor said, referring to the Olcott popcorn stand with a devoted following. “We have essentially tripled [business] every year,” Wulf said. “If we were going to expand, we wanted it to be some place iconic, near the locks, and 79-81 Canal was too good to pass up.”