Will this week's ice cream be Honey Lavender or Hot Jalapeno? Oo – or maybe PB&J, Lobster Bisque or Sunday Breakfast – complete with bacon! One thing's sure with Treat Dreams of Ferndale: There's always something to please kids and parents. And it's never the same menu twice.
At this wildly creative shop – whose goal is to "serve the most original and innovative homemade ice cream in Michigan" – the tastes are always a surprise. But families have made a habit of checking the Treat Dreams Facebook page each Sunday at noon (or lining up at the store around then) to see what the latest Flavor Board will hold.
The man behind the curtain
So who's the Willy Wonka-esque mixologist whipping up these funky blends? His name is Scott Moloney. And, until starting up Treat Dreams in 2010, this Birmingham dad of two was – wait for it – in the finance business. A pretty far cry, eh?
"I felt like I was someone else trapped in a banker's body for 13 years," he quips. Moloney quit the money business for a more creative venture in late 2009. He officially opened during August and, while that was the end of the summer ice-cream season, winter gave him time to experiment with different flavors and get feedback from locals.
The community, he says, has embraced him and his business. And vice versa: You'll often find the store crew at local events, running fundraisers or mixing special blends on behalf of special causes.
"Ferndale has got such a great vibe and different buzz," he says – a city that's perfect for a guy who serves up concoctions like Chicken and Waffles and Macaroni and Cheese.
Zany flavors and personal touch
At Treat Dreams, inspiration comes from all corners. For instance, after hearing that a customer's pregnant friend was craving mint chocolate shakes (think McDonald's Shamrock Shake), Moloney made her an entire tub of mint chocolate ice cream (the tub was in the cooler with her name on it!).
It's that rapport with patrons – from knowing their first names and favorite flavors to taking special requests – that keeps people coming back, despite the ever-changing flavors.
Each day, Moloney offers 15 picks, which include two to three sorbets and two hand-scooped frozen yogurts.
"Our two most popular are Kooky Monster (made of blue vanilla ice cream, chocolate cookie dough and Oreos)," he says, "and Salted Caramel." Moloney makes the caramel from scratch and, while the process can be tedious, the end result is delicious.
Other flavors served daily include dark chocolate chip, vanilla, chocolate and Mound Road, featuring coconut and chocolate. There are vegan picks, too, like a version of Mound Round sporting dairy-free chocolate chips.
Not all of his flavor combos have been hits. Notable flops? Salt and Vinegar, along with a Butterscotch ice cream – and a caramel corn and Oreo mash-up. "The candy corn froze like rocks!" he laughs.
Beyond ice cream
Hits and misses aside, fans keep flocking back. And Moloney continues to experiment with flavors, and offers other items – like cookies, cupcakes and cupcake pops (bite size cupcakes on a stick).
He also hopes to offer 35 ice cream flavors in the freezers for purchase in larger quantities, so folks who love Red Velvet, for example – a flavor not available by the scoop every day – can purchase it as a pint.
These days, you can stop over for a sandwich and soup, too: Moloney plans to expand the lunch menu in the future.
"It's all seat of the pants," he says. That may well be the secret to Treat Dreams' success!