If you are from Valparaiso then you know about Valpo Velvet ice cream. It's the creamy and delicious concoction in the blue and white containers that puts all of the other ice cream in the freezer aisle to shame.
On Friday December 27, the Valpo Velvet shop had their annual end of the year party. It was a celebration of a great year in a great city. We at ValpoLife were lucky enough to get to partner with them to help make this party a great time!
Cathy Brown Brown, owner of the Valpo Velvet Ice Cream Company, was in the thick of things. With an expert hand, she along with many of her family members, turned out scoop after scoop of their famous ice cream and created the wonderful meals that all of the guests enjoyed. Great favorites like grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup to interesting creations like cheeseburger soup and a vegetarian concoction called the "Oh La La" came from the kitchen and to the happy stomachs of the guests that dined there that day.
"Today we are celebrating the end of a great 2013 by joining with ValpoLife to have some specials and saying good to our loyal customers and just going out with a bang," Cathy said. "It's our way of saying thank you to them for coming here and buying our ice cream. It's important to me to say thank you to our customers."
Free ice cream was given out as well as free tours of their factory which is attached to the shop itself. It was very special because tours of the Valpo Velvet facility are very rare. But don't worry, when Cathy says "goodbye", she only means for the season. Valpo Velvet will reopen in April of 2014. And while the shop may be closed, production won't stop.
"We still will continue to make ice cream every single day, and I will be working on our new website and helping my husband make the ice cream. I won't be at home eating bonbons," she said with a laugh.
Valpo Velvet is a family-owned and run business and has been from the very beginning. Cathy's daughters, Katie and Greer, were there, hard at work helping serve the customers. Along with them was Cathy's husband Mike, his brother Mark, and both Cathy's mother and Mike's mother as well as other family members and friends making the day run smoothly.
"We're doing whatever our mom asks us to do," Katie said. "We got here early to get things ready."
"It's sad and exciting at the same time," Greer said. "It's sad because we're closing but it's exciting because we're wrapping up the whole year and I like how this is a tradition. Now that this is our third party we're going to keep it going year after year."
I think it's a nice change of pace because things are a little slower in the winter and it's really fun to have everyone come in for our last hoorah before we close for the year," Katie added.
Not only were there regulars that have crossed the doorsteps of the Valpo Velvet Ice Cream Shop many a time, there were some newcomers and out-of-towners. Lori Mitchell and her daughter Kayla found out about the event on Facebook and having never been inside the shop, decided to give it a try.
"We're off school for winter break and we just decided on a whim to come here," Lori said. "I love it. I had the sandwich called the Pig Says Moo and it was the best sandwich I have ever had."
Kayla sat next to her mom with a cup of peppermint stick ice cream in her hands.
"I love it," Kayla said about the ice cream. "I really like it here."
During the tour, Mike Brown explained the process and the work that goes into making each batch of ice cream. His mother told everyone the history of the company and how she and her husband ran the business before it was passed down to her children.
A lot of love an knowledge can be seen and felt in that place. All of the Browns were laughing and enjoying their time with each other and everyone that came to visit that day. I can speak for many that Valpo Velvet is a wonderful business and we are proud to have it as a historic icon here in our town.
Be sure to come in and see them when Valpo Velvet reopens in April of 2014! Have a happy and safe New Year from all of us at ValpoLife and Valpo Velvet!