Love’s Ice Cream Expanding, Adding Confectionery

Posted on April 23, 2018 by Downtown Market

Local favorite Love’s Ice Cream announced today they are planning to expand inside the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, adding another component – chocolates and candy confections.

An extension of the existing Love’s Ice Cream brand, Love’s confectionery will focus primarily on chocolate-covered creations like bonbons, but McKellar is also developing caramels, toffees, candy bars and hard candies. Well-known for its vegan ice cream selection, Love’s will offer vegan confections in many varieties as well.

“We have been studying our customers’ behaviors, and their purchasing habits in our four and a half years in the Downtown Market and there is a distinct sweet tooth in West Michigan,” said Chris McKellar, founder owner of Love’s. “There are infinite possibilities to explore with chocolate candies, including on-site demonstrations, wholesale, catering and collaborations with the ice cream side of the business.”

As a company that makes virtually every single portion of its product from scratch, the expansion into chocolate will allow Love’s more freedom to experiment with ice cream flavorings and ingredients, as the candy-making equipment will double as a way to create new and unique mix-ins for ice cream as well.

“Love’s was one of our very first businesses, and has become well-known as a favorite in the Market Hall, by locals, out-of-town visitors and our Downtown Market staff as well,” said Mimi Fritz, Downtown Market president and CEO. “Chris’s commitment to using the highest-quality, all-natural ingredients combined with his creativity and passion for experimentation is what this Market Hall is all about, and will ensure the success of this brand expansion as well.”

In preparation for this expansion into becoming a chocolatier, McKellar took classes at Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago, an internationally-renowned academy that teaches chocolatiers and pastry chefs the art of creating world-class desserts. This summer, he will attend a two-week intensive confectionary residency course at UW-Madison.

In the process of expanding Love's Ice Cream into confections, McKellar will replace Rocket Pies and Relish Green Grocer, which both celebrated their last days of business on Sunday. As owner of all three businesses, McKellar decided to concentrate and consolidate his focus to the Love’s brand, to allow for expansion and to meet an increasing demand for Love’s products.

Construction in the space will begin in early May to convert the area into a dessert emporium, with one long counter for ice cream and candy. McKellar will still keep the on premise liquor license, offering unique dessert cocktails, boozy ice cream floats and other intriguing experiments down the road.