Slope to bring frozen treats to downtown Dowagiac

Published 10:25 am Friday, May 31, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — A new business will arrive just in time to offer customers respite from the sweltering summer heat.

Jordan Anderson and Hector Rivas of Baker’s Rhapsody have been hard at work gearing up for the grand opening of their new ice cream shop, Slope Frozen Treats, at 231 S. Front St. An opening date has not been set though Anderson hopes to open in the coming weeks.

“We’re getting real close now,” Anderson said. “We hired employees, we’re gonna start training here real soon. We have most of our equipment and things in place so hopefully it won’t be too much longer.”

The City of Dowagiac owns the building that had been historically leased to Nancy Shufert, who passed away last year, to operate the former ‘Twistees’ ice cream shop next to City Hall. At the beginning of January, the city issued a request for proposals for the space and received three proposals from existing reputable operators, which included Anderson. 

“Food Service has always been my thing,” Anderson said. “I’ve never had a job outside of the food service industry, so growing and expanding has always been something we wanted to do. I’ve always said that if I was to ever do a second location, it wouldn’t be a second bakery, it’d be something else entirely and this has just turned out to be a really good opportunity for that.”

After interviews, the city decided to lease the building to Anderson. The decision was made based on Anderson’s: 

  • Knowledge and familiarity with operating a successful downtown business within the Dowagiac community.
  • 23 years’ experience in the food service industry, with specific experience with a highly seasonal ice cream business.
  • Demonstrated social media marketing presence. 
  • Focused menu that will feature unique ice cream treats that incorporate handmade items, including partnering with Bakers Rhapsody to incorporate Dowagiac’s favorite baked goods.

“I am just super excited to have another creative outlet like we have here,” he said. “We can do so many different things with ice cream that we can’t do here and it’s very exciting to have it be something completely different. If we’re doing brownie sundaes, we’ll make brownies here and we can do some homemade cookies and things like that that you can do as part of sundaes and things down there. It’s not going to be Rhapsody 2.0, we’re not going to do like lattes and things down there and stuff like that. 

“It’ll be two different things, which is one thing I’m super excited for because it lets me and the creative team I have here like flex our muscles a little bit and do some new fun stuff down there.”

Anderson and Rivas decided on Slope after brainstorming winter and cold-themed names. In Slope, they look forward to offering treats with a Midwestern twist.

“We got ‘Slope’ because it is reminiscent of ski slopes and with the way that we’re trying to Brand it, we’re trying to really emphasize the Midwestern slang phrases like ‘ope, let me scooch right past ya.’ We’re gonna do a lot of that with marketing and stuff and have a couple of Michigan-ey, Dowagiac-ey things on the menu to lean into the Midwestern, Michigan sort of vibes for it too.”

According to Anderson, serving ice cream was his first job as a youth growing up in South Haven. For him, opening an ice cream shop is a “full circle” moment.

“It was just kind of a Cool opportunity that happened to present itself,” he said.

Anderson said the response from the community has been positive.

“That’s what I love about small communities like this is that you get to interact with all your customers so much more,” he said. “To have the support of the local community is just amazing. When we opened the bakery here we felt so welcomed. So many people supported us and we’re feeling that same love down there, too. We’re really excited to get her open and get going.”