New ice cream shop brings Christmas spirit to Milford’s summer

David Pickerell, owner of the new ice cream shop North Pole Creamery at S Walnut Street in Milford with his daughter Amanda Pickerell. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

MILFORD — It may get hot in Milford this summer, but the new North Pole Creamery will keep downtown cool with frozen treats and Christmas spirit from the Santa House, a longtime fixture on Walnut Street.

The ice cream shop, which had its grand opening Saturday, is owned by local entrepreneur David Pickerell and managed by his daughter, Amanda Pickerell.

“Keeping the theme of the Santa House and the North Pole alive during the off-season was really important,” said Mr. Pickerell, who also runs the award-winning Gallery 37 across the street with his wife, Marcia Reed.

“We actually had a customer last night with her daughter, who said, ‘Mommy, I remember being here. Wasn’t Santa here?’ ” Ms. Pickerell said. “I was so excited to be able to tell her that ‘Santa was nice enough to let us use his house here for a few months.’ ”

When Mr. Pickerell found out that Downstate ice cream staple King’s Creamery wouldn’t be reopening its seasonal store in the space that serves as Santa’s Milford home base every December, he decided to take the operation on himself.

From left, Paige Reisinger, David Pickerell and Amanda Pickerell in front of the North Pole Creamery on South Walnut Street in Milford (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

“The bottom line is, I personally didn’t want to see this go away,” he said. “It’s a destination in Milford. … One of our goals for our business is to get people off (Del.) 1 and to get traffic down here.”

Mr. Pickerell and his wife are involved with Downtown Milford Inc., a local economic development organization that owns the Santa House.

“One of our strongest desires living and establishing businesses here is to create more foot traffic [and] bring more merchants in,” Mr. Pickerell said. “Shop local, you know.”

North Pole Creamery has the support of its neighbors.

“I have gone by, and I did have their ice cream their first day,” said Nancy Forster, who owns Nancy’s Café, a luncheonette on the other side of Walnut Street. “It was great. There was seating outside, people were sitting out enjoying their ice cream. You could see people downtown, and that was wonderful.”

She added that “the ice cream was delicious.” She got a scoop of coffee.

Even though Ms. Forster will also be selling ice cream when she is able to reopen fully, she doesn’t see the creamery as competition.

“They have the scooping ice cream, and I will have the soft serve and gelato,” she said. “People come down for various reasons. Sometimes, people may want lunch one day, or they may come down and want an ice-cream cone, but since we’re all in it together, they’ll see that I’m here, and they’ll come here one day for lunch, perhaps.”

From left, Paige Reisinger, David Pickerell and Amanda Pickerell in front of the North Pole Creamery on South Walnut Street in Milford (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

Ms. Forster described this as “the dynamic of a functioning, thriving downtown.”

Mr. Pickerell said there’s nothing else like the North Pole Creamery in Milford.

“This is hand-dipped, locally made ice cream” from Milton-based King’s Creamery, he said.

Both Pickerells said the Milford community is a primary focus.

“We’re here to serve them and be a place to go during the summer to beat the heat,” Ms. Pickerell said.

“I’d really, really like to implement a flavor of the week,” she said. “We’re getting a lot of feedback from our customers on … their favorite flavors.” She’d like “to bring that in to make the community feel more involved in our business.”

She also wants “to get some frozen treats for dogs in here for the pet parents that want to come out.”

Ms. Pickerell stressed that the creamery is a safe, clean place to hang out in the time of COVID-19.

Veronika Moore is getting ready to enjoy a cool ice cream on a hot day at the new North Pole Creamery on South Walnut Street.

“We have ample (outdoor) seating for people to keep a safe distance and to be able to enjoy some time with their families outside of the home,” she said. “Even with friends they haven’t seen, come grab an ice cream and relax.”

This year, the North Pole Creamery will be open seven days a week until October. They’re scooping from noon to 9 p.m. every day except Saturday, when it’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to capitalize on the additional foot traffic brought by the Riverwalk Farmers Market next door.