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New Summerside dairy bar to take over former Jo Mamma’s Coffee Hut location

Alex Waite, 5, is excited for his parents Angela and Blake to open up Alex’s Ice Cream next year. The new dairy bar will be housed in the former Jo Mamma’s location in the Walmart parking lot on Granville Street in Summerside.
Alex Waite, 5, is excited for his parents Angela and Blake to open up Alex’s Ice Cream next year. The new dairy bar will be housed in the former Jo Mamma’s location in the Walmart parking lot on Granville Street in Summerside. - Millicent McKay

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - When Angela Waite was pregnant with her son, she had constant cravings for ice cream.

“I ate so much of it, I’m surprised I didn’t turn into an ice cream cone,” she said with a chuckle.

Now, five years later, she’s opening a dairy bar celebrating her son and his love for the tasty frozen treat.

Angela and her husband, Blake, have owned a number of rental properties and have flipped houses before. So when the possibility of flipping the former Jo Mamma’s Coffee Hut into a dairy bar came along, she was excited.

“I was a big Jo Mamma’s customer. So, when it came up for sale, I thought it was an interesting opportunity. Then we learned the building came with part of the surrounding land. That means we wouldn’t have to rent the property to keep the hut where it was.”

The popular coffee hut closed Aug. 9, with the business put up for sale in late May.

Angela is hoping the business’s central location will draw customers.

She said it’s the perfect size spot for a dairy bar and renovations are set to begin shortly.

“There’s going to be a brand-new roof, windows, doors, a patio area so people have the ability to walk up and order, but we’re also keeping the drive-through window, which I think is a great bonus.

“As a mom with a kid who wants ice cream but it’s bad weather out,” she added, “the drive-through allows us to still go and get a treat without the worry of the weather.”

Concept art has already been designed for the Alex's Ice Cream building renovations, set to begin in coming weeks.
Concept art has already been designed for the Alex's Ice Cream building renovations, set to begin in coming weeks.

The plan is for the establishment to feature dairy bar staples as well as unique menu items.

“We’re still working and playing around with the menu. But we’ll ask Alex what he thinks of this flavour or that combo,” Angela said with a laugh.

Angela, whose background is in finances and bookkeeping, said she’s never worked in a dairy bar.

“However, I’m glad I have the experience I do, because after speaking with other entrepreneurs, that financial side and learning those needs seems to be the thing people get stuck on.”

Looking to the future, she’s excited to see the building evolve. They’re aiming for a mid- to end-of-March opening.

Blake said it’s been a learning experience to switch from housing properties to a commercial property.

“But it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to seeing it grow from a new business to a hopefully flourishing one,” he said. “Something we can hopefully pass on to Alex as a successful family business for him to take over.”

Angela hopes people will be excited about the venture.

“I hope too many people aren’t disappointed it’s not remaining a coffee shop. I’ve been met with a few, ‘does Summerside really need another dairy bar?’ But there’s nothing comparable up there to this kind of business.”

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