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If you’re a fan of ice cream (aka, if you’re human), then you’re probably familiar with Little Man Ice Cream’s iconic milk can in LoHi—and the ever-present line of scoop-seeking patrons outside its window. Good news: Soon you won’t have to struggle with the parking nightmare that is Highland to get a waffle cone with salted Oreo. Little Man is expanding.
It started with Sweet Cooie’s in Congress Park, an old-school ice cream parlor dressed up in baby blue, brass, and marble that opened in February. Three more locations—all with their own unique names and designs—are slated to start slinging scoops within the next year.
“We made a very deliberate decision a couple of years ago, when we were at the cusp of expansion, as to whether or not we wanted to build Little Man as a brand that was known for the can design, or if we wanted to focus on our product but create unique environments that were sympathetic to the neighborhoods in which they lived,” says Basha Cohen, Little Man’s marketing director. They opted for the latter.
Take Constellation in Stapleton’s Eastbridge development. Expected to open by early 2018, the shop is shaped like an airplane wing (see rendering, above). The design was inspired by the airport that once sat on the site, and the name comes from the Lockheed Constellation plane that flew during World War II.
Churn Ice Cream, opening in downtown Fort Collins next summer, is the most similar to the original, as it will be serving ice cream out of a vintage churn-shaped building. Both menus will have all your favorites, as well as flavors and novelties unique to each location.
A Park Hill location is also expected to start serving in 2018, though details have yet to be announced; all we know is it will have a more modern design and focus on soft-serve, which is new for Little Man.
Of course, these additions to the Little Man family require a lot more ice cream, and none of the spaces are designed to be crafting the delicacies on-site. Until now, everything has been made in an 800-square-foot historic house-turned-commissary kitchen in LoHi. That will change in December when Little Man Creamery opens in the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood. The 6,500-square-foot space on West Colfax Avenue will operate as a full-service ice cream production facility and bakery. “What’s unique about our creamery is we’re approaching it like a microbrewery,” says Loren Martinez, director of operations. “We want people to be able to come in and watch the process. We’re opening the curtain to the stage and showing off how we make the product, how we locally source, how it’s really a chef-driven process.” Next summer, the venue will open to the public as a place to ogle the ice cream- (and doughnut-) making process and settle in for an ice cream flight or grab a pint to-go.
“Our mission with Little Man Ice Cream is to activate the space and to be a gathering space,” Martinez says. “We feel we’ve had great success because of what we do above and beyond ice cream: It’s how we create a community, how we create an atmosphere and provide an experience.” To that end, each new location will continue the Scoop for Scoop program, though it may benefit different organizations or missions depending on the neighborhood. Free events—from swing dancing to outdoor films to community meetings—will continue as well.
We’re sure it won’t be long until there are lines out the door (or milk can or churn) all over town.