When Annie Stranger, owner of Sweet Annie’s Artisan Creamery, was asked why she was opening a new brick-and-mortar location in Liberty Lake during the COVID-19 pandemic, her answer was simple: “Why not?!
Stranger and her cart of gourmet flavors like our favorite, The Bees Knees—a butter flavored ice cream with a swirl of local honey and loaded with chunks of honeycomb candy—have become mainstays at farmers markets around Spokane. But after five years, Stranger is excited to grow beyond the limitations of her ice cream cart, which can only carry five flavors at a time.
“Serving our ice creams on the cart has been so rewarding, and it’s been a great way for us to test our product and get feedback from the community. However, having to transport our product and serve it outdoors with all the variations in weather and temperatures makes it nearly impossible for us to maintain the integrity of the ice cream. It’s so sad to see our hard work melt away or suffer from the transportation back and forth. The shop will allow us to have control over all those variables, so we can serve the very best version of our ice creams.”
Still, Sweet Annie’s has developed a strong and loyal following, especially among patrons of the Liberty Lake Farmers Market.
“Having the opportunity to open our first shop in Liberty Lake is so exciting for us. We’ve found a supportive community there through our summers at the Farmers Market and can’t wait to bring a little Sweet Annie’s flavor to the River District.”
Stranger is definitely planning for the future with the new shop. By having their own production kitchen, Sweet Annie’s will be able to develop new ice creams that stretch their creativity and highlight local and seasonal flavors. Having their own space also means Sweet Annie’s can offer a wider menu than Stranger can handle with the cart.
“With the shop, we’ll be introducing a whole menu of desserts that we could never offer on the mobile cart. With our own space, we have the opportunity to build on our promise of wonderful ice cream to include sundaes, ice cream sodas, gourmet toppings and other tasty treats,” says Stranger.
Since COVID-19 has made throwing a traditional grand opening impossible, Stranger is flexing her creativity with ways to get people excited and celebrate the shop’s launch. Sweet Annie’s has introduced a “Glee Club” which offers members monthly pints and discounted merchandise. Members also receive free scoops of ice cream when they pick up their orders so those pints can stay full until they make it home to the freezer!