PLYMOUTH, Minn. — It's the time of year when ice cream shops are closing down as the cold sets in, but there is one that's embracing winter and everything that comes with it.
Honey and Mackie's in Plymouth is focusing on seasonal flavors that deliver the spirit of the season. Both in taste — and in the way it gives back to others year-round.
"Ice cream was a family tradition of mine growing up. We would all gather around and either have ice cream in our backyard or go out and get ice cream," said Suzanne Varecka, owner of Honey & Mackie's.
Those sweet memories inspired Varecka to open the local ice cream shop a decade ago.
She's happiest behind the counter of Honey & Mackie's serving customers, even those who don't realize sample etiquette.
Varecka also spends a lot of her time in an "ice cream lab," where WCCO learned how it's made.
In recent years, Honey & Mackie's has become known for its holiday sampler.
"I originally came up with it in 2020 when we weren't having people in the store. It was a means to allow people to taste and sample some of our ice creams and then hopefully come back and get pints of their favorites. What it turned into was one of the best gifts in the area," explained Varecka.
Remember when "31 flavors" was a big deal?
"Last time I counted we had 235 flavors," smiled Varecka.
She has always believed in carrying a variety of creative flavors like Butterbeer, Party Animal & Cranberry Upside-Down Cake — with a hefty helping of giving back.
"I love that everybody has ownership in it and part of that starts with being really involved in the community, saying yes," said Varecka.
Yes, to projects like selling a "Captain Jack Crunch" flavor to raise money cancer research in honor of Wayzata Football captain and cancer survivor Jack Simon.
"We had a lot of college kids who loved it this summer when we first launched it and wanted it when they came back over Thanksgiving, so we brought it back," said Varecka.
While it takes a lot of hard work, Varecka is grateful for a sweet gig.
"It's really fun. It's fun to be part of the community, it's fun to be creative and then to come and have a fun place to work with people you love," said Varecka.
Honey & Mackie's Holiday Sampler features twelve assorted flavors.
The theme is holiday desserts.
It's available through the end of the year or until they sell out.
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