Call it a second helping of space, and one which tastes pretty delicious so far.
Ferndale’s Treat Dreams, which opened to spectacular local fanfare in August 2010, recently made a significant business decision to expand its location at 22965 Woodward Ave. The result? A dining area that is about triple its former size, as well as a kitchen area twice as big as before. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it? “We’re so busy in the summer,” server Brie Todd says. “We needed more room.” It’s a move that’s paying off, says Treat Dreams owner Scott Moloney. “A popular saying is that ‘I’d rather be lucky than good,’ and I feel that way about being lucky enough to have my business in Ferndale,” he says.
The Treat Dreams staff closed its original store and began the expansion and renovation project on February 18th. The project was complete on March 15th, just in time for an eager crowd of ice cream lovers on the cusp of springtime weather. The project cost around $50,000, and involved taking over PakMail’s space, the business which was located next door. (Pakmail has moved two blocks to the north, to 23241 Woodward.)
The decision to expand wasn’t made on a whim, Moloney explains. “Actually, there were a couple of reasons we decided to expand the store,” he says. “The obvious one was to have more dining space — we essentially tripled the amount of dining space and seating for our guests. The prior space became very crowded during the April–September season on a normal day, and in the event that we had a birthday party in the store, it took up almost all of our seating. In addition to our expanded inside seating, we also plan to have outdoor cafe seating in front of our original space and the expanded space (on Woodward), and also to have additional seating on the side of the building on Cambourne.”
Equally important in Moloney’s decision was the desire to give his servers more space to work their magic in the kitchen. And for anyone who hasn’t tried Treat Dreams’ homemade ice cream, there’s a lot of magic going on. Seriously, who ever thought to make an ice cream flavor out of Swedish fish? Not to mention other exotic ideas, which include pistachio wasabi, chocolate-covered potato chip ice cream, hot jalapeno, lemon basil, and purple yam, to name a few.
“The new kitchen space will allow us to add more freezer space as our business grows,” Moloney says. “Prior to that, our walk-in freezer would be packed to the ceiling between the ice cream that we sold in the store, plus the growing number of scoops and ice cream sandwiches needed for our expanding event business, plus the ice cream that we needed to store to our growing wholesale business to local restaurants (now up to about a dozen restaurants in the Detroit area). The expansion will also allow us to add a potential second retail location in the Detroit area, and have the production remain in Ferndale.”
There were also some extracurricular concerns that went into the decision to launch the project. “The expanded space also allows us to host our popular Kids Camp program as well as our after-hours adult ice cream-making parties — Treat Dreams After Dark — without getting in the way and interrupting our normal production needs in the kitchen,” Moloney says.
All in all, he says, everything’s been peachy. “So far, I am thrilled with the reaction of our guests,” he says. “My biggest fear was how it would be received by our existing client base. It was quite a radical transformation, both in terms of the size of the expansion as well as the makeover, and you are always nervous when you mess with something that is already successful.” Although still a relatively young business, Treat Dreams already has the feel of a place that is a community mainstay. “I feel blessed to have been embraced by the local community,” Moloney says. “It feels like we have been a part of the Ferndale community for much longer than the almost three years that we have been in business. I like everything about the town and residents and businesses (in Ferndale). The support that Ferndale has given me is nothing short of amazing, from working with the city — great to work with, always accommodating — to the residents — incredibly supportive of small independent businesses, and always embracing of the unique flavors we do — to the local businesses, that we have been proud to partner with.”
Todd says that most of the regulars who frequent Treat Dreams have been thrilled by the recent expansion. “People are always so positive when they come in here,” he says.
Oak Park resident Jenn Jamal says she wishes her family could hit up Treat Dreams more frequently. “Our family loves the creative flavors at Treat Dreams, and the quality of the ice cream is amazing,” she says. “As an added bonus, we like that we’re supporting a local business.”
Treat Dreams is open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays,
from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
again on Sundays. Email Moloney at email@example.com.
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