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Sweet Success: How Molly Moon Neitzel Makes It Work

"Ice cream can be where a multigenerational community gathering happens."

Author Elisa Murray

Published on: July 31, 2015

Molly Moon Neitzel. Photo courtesy of Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream

You might resent her success, but you have to admire her timing. When then 20-something Molly Moon Neitzel launched the first Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream scoop shop in Wallingford in 2008, hers was arguably the only artisan ice creamery in town.

By 2012, more than 25 new ice creameries had sprung up. Now, the landscape is so fluid it’s hard to keep track, but you’ll still find lines out the door at Molly Moon’s six locations. She has a chocolate-loving 2-year-old daughter named February, and was kind enough to share sweet insights for August.

What was your vision for Molly Moon’s?

I went to college in Missoula and worked at the Big Dipper [an ice cream parlor] for four years. What I learned is that ice cream can be where a multigenerational community gathering happens. We would serve families with little kids, college students, young professionals on dates, lots of empty nesters, lots of grandparents. I really tried to re-create that in Molly Moon’s.

How did you manage to time your business so impeccably?

I’m a little ice-cream obsessed as a human being but every time I would bring up that there’s no good ice cream in Seattle all my friends would be like, ‘Oh yeah, there isn’t.’ Also I knew that ice cream is a great treat when you can’t afford a lot of big, nice luxuries in your life.

Favorite family flavors?

My daughter is her mother’s daughter and she loves chocolate ice cream. Our melted chocolate is definitely my favorite. I also really like our seasonals.

Seven years in, what are you most proud of? One of our goals as a company is to be the raddest employer in our industry. And I think we have the most amazing benefits that you could get in the food industry in Seattle, and that feels really great. What we do in ingredient purchasing from a sustainability standpoint [also] feels really good.

How do you juggle parenthood and an ice-cream empire?

I love to get tips and tricks from others! But a couple of things that have worked for me. One, I let go of the need to cook a perfect meal every night of the week. Also, I asked my nanny to make dinner one night a week for us on Wednesdays (a really hectic work day for me). That was so helpful.

The other thing: Robin Wehl Martin [the owner of Hello Robin, a bakery where a Molly Moon’s scoop station is located] and I are dear friends and we cook dinner together every Monday night, which feels like we’re at an outing. 

What do you like to do on a hot day?

We are a huge fan of splash parks. Volunteer Park is our favorite one. We just bought a canoe as a family; that’s been really fun.

What’s next for Molly Moon's?

We are opening a shop in Redmond next spring. That will be our first Eastside shop, and I think Eastsiders are pretty excited about that. 

Special August flavors?

Orchard blondie [vanilla ice cream with a swirl of nectarine/peach jam made with local, organic fruit  and blondie bars]; ginger; and watermelon sorbet.

How’s this super-sunny summer treating your business?

We’re definitely having a hard time making enough ice cream to keep up. But we’re doing it.

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