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Shopping online pays off for new owners of Woodstock ice cream shop

by: Merry MacKinnon, The new owner of the former Island Creamery, Bradley Backman, discusses the store’s featured ice cream cakes with customer Sheryl Berggren. Backman bought the Woodstock ice cream store, after finding it for sale online – on “Craigslist”. He renamed it “Surf Shack Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt”, and reopened it in December.

With its free website for selling anything from horses to clothes dryers (and, the police report, a whole lot more), 'Craigslist' has revolutionized the world of classified advertising.

The online site also radically changed Bradley Backman's life, when the West Linn resident scanned Portland's Craigslist one day for equipment and - instead - found an ice cream shop for sale.

For a long time, Backman and his wife have dreamed of building an island-themed smoothie business from the ground up. He had even written a business plan, and had been storing freezers and other equipment, including a surf board.

"My wife and I wanted to have an ice cream yogurt shop for the longest time,' explained Backman, on how they recently came to be the new owners of Woodstock's former 'Island Creamery'.

After contacting Jane Glanville, the Island Creamery's owner, the couple visited the shop, and saw that it was located in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood town center, and already had a tropical decor - the very features the couple, who love Hawaii, had visualized in a business.

So they took the leap, and bought the shop, which reopened in mid-December under the new name 'Surf Shack Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt'.

'It worked out good for us,' he said. 'And we kept a lot of the same feel that it had when it was Island Creamery.'

There are some changes, however. The shop now has soft-serve yogurt, and the smoothie selection has been expanded, with new recipes offering non-frozen fruit and choice of fruit juice, yogurt, or sorbet. And the menu also now includes fruit parfaits, layered with pineapple, raspberries, and blueberries, for instance.

But the ice cream is the same, provided by Umpqua Dairy. And Backman retained the same Island Creamery cake maker, previously profiled in THE BEE, to create from scratch the exotic ice cream cakes in Surf Shack's refrigerated display case.

That decision pleased Woodstock resident Sheryl Berggren, as she's been buying the cakes all along. 'We love the cakes,' said Berggren, having come into Surf Shack right before the Holidays to buy one.

Alongside towering cakes looking like miniature buttes were the Christmas cakes. And Berggren, consulting with a family member via cell phone, had come to the shop to buy one for the holidays -- possibly, she thought, the chocolate poinsettia cake with mint chips.

Meanwhile, since it's the middle of winter, the ice cream business is a bit slow, but Backman expects it to pick up in spring. 'I hope people stop in,' he said, wearing his Hawaiian shirt, a reminder of tropical sea breezes, hot sand, beach umbrellas and fruit drinks.

Certainly, many will be glad that the ice cream shop just around the corner from Safeway, facing Woodstock Boulevard at Southeast 45th, once again is a place to sip a smoothie or buy an ice cream cone, regardless of how just hot or cold it may be outside.