Developers Plan Custard Stand in Central City

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 am

Two long-time advocates for business development on Milwaukee’s northwest side are planning their own development in the area they’ve worked in for so many years. Damon Dorsey and Bob Plevin, who currently work as president and project manager for the North Avenue Community Development Corp. (NACDC), respectively, are partnering to create Scoopz, a frozen custard and jumbo hamburger stand planned for the southeast corner of North 37th Street and West North Avenue.

Both Dorsey and Plevin were initially planning to break ground in March on Scoopz. However, they have run into delays in obtaining about $250,000 in tax incremental financing (TIF) from the city that they had hoped to obtain for the project, and that timeline may need to be moved back.

If the project is able to break ground in March, it should be open by October, Dorsey said.

When built, Scoopz will be housed in a 4,900-square-foot building. Its design and menu will be similar to those of Kopp’s and other custard stands in the Milwaukee area, Dorsey said.

Dorsey and Plevin also are planning to develop a 3,500-square-foot building at the intersection of 37th and North. The second building will eventually house up to three tenants.

Roots Development, the company Dorsey is forming with Plevin to build Scoopz, will take up some space in the new building. Dorsey said the second tenant will be a café named Giant Steps Café. He and Plevin are working with several different parties who would open and operate the café, Dorsey said. The third tenant is undecided at this point, he said.

The total project cost is about $2 million. About $1.5 million of that will come from a loan to Dorsey and Plevin by Milwaukee’s Legacy Bank.

Dorsey said he came up with the idea for Scoopz after he realized the central city did not have a frozen custard stand.

Dorsey says the neighborhood he’s building the Scoopz project in is ripe for this type of development because it has a large number of young people and a high population density.

"The market is there for a quality custard model," he said. "This is a giant step for me, for the area and for Milwaukee’s urban community – particularly the African-American community, because we’re pulling together a business from scratch. I look at the market (in the central city), and you can’t get a scoop of custard in the central city within two or three miles."

Once Scoopz opens, Dorsey and Levin will leave NACDC to pursue real estate development and run the custard stand.

Scoopz’s interior will be designed with its own unique style, Dorsey said, which will distinguish itself from Kopp’s. The design will be unique to Milwaukee’s central city and the North Avenue area, he said.

"Scoopz will definitely be one of the eateries to define the area a little more," he said.

Dorsey is already thinking he could own and operate more than one custard stand in Milwaukee and perhaps other cities.

"Scoopz has the potential to grow into an entity that could serve other urban markets," Dorsey said. "I think that Milwaukee is probably a city that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Although Scoopz is being designed, at least on a conceptual basis, on what Kopp’s has operated with in Milwaukee, Dorsey said he and the managers at the store will need to develop policies, procedures, accounting practices and other defined operating methods before Scoopz sells its first scoop.

"I’d like to do as many as I can in Milwaukee, and if I can do it, I will expand into other cities," Dorsey said. "But I won’t do it if we’re not hitting on all eight cylinders. Scoopz will add a lot of value (to the neighborhood). For Milwaukee, this is what needs to be done."

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