‘I think (Winnipeggers are) addicted to ice cream’

Seasonal ice-cream shops looking forward to year ahead

Hungry Winnipeggers gather for ice cream on opening day at BDI on March 23.

Daniel Crump

Two of Winnipeg’s most iconic ice-cream shops are now open for the season and have already had customers lined up at their door despite a lapse in warm weather.

Sargent Sundae opened on March 15 and drew a crowd before they officially let the public in. Co-owner Lynn Dusessoy says she and her husband John are expecting a busy year and are looking forward to celebrating the business’s 40th anniversary on July 7.

Normally, Sargent Sundae tries to open near the end of the first week in March, but the fluctuating weather impacted their opening date this year.

“We’re very weather-driven. It was beautiful and then it snowed, so we were going to open, but we didn’t,” Dusessoy says. “(But) it doesn’t stop people. Winnipeggers are tough, and I think they’re addicted to ice cream.”

She says it takes a few weeks to get ready to open. Staff has to re-clean and sterilize everything and make sure all their stock is in order. She adds that many staff members return year after year, or that their kids come work for them once they’re old enough.

Dusessoy’s favourite season is summer, and she’s excited that she gets to share ice cream with people across the city.

“Sometimes you don’t know people’s names, but you know what they eat, you know their story,” Dusessoy says. “They just make (Sargent Sundae) a part of their life.”

Justin Jacob is also excited to start the year for Bridge Drive-In (BDI).

He has owned the business since 2013 and says the cooler weather and construction nearby last summer impacted their business.

“We’re mostly just looking for things to get back to normal, because prior to the construction, we were in COVID,” Jacob says.

He tries to always open in time for spring break, and their official first day this year was March 23. He’s already seen some Winnipeggers come by for their sweet treats.

“I do have an ice cream machine on, so I gave them some free ice-cream cones just because they came down,” Jacob says. “With the longevity of this business and how long it’s been around, I think Winnipeg generally gets pretty excited, because it’s kind of the first sign of spring and summer being on the way.”

Jacob adds that they’re looking to add another location on the northern side of the city this year.

“We’re hoping to get that up at some point in April,” he says. “We might as well give it a shot and see how it goes for a season.”

Previously, BDI had a satellite location at Kildonan Place mall, but their lease expired just as COVID-19 lockdowns started. They also had a pop-up store at the University of Manitoba in 2017.

Currently, BDI runs the Goog-to-Go ice cream truck that travels across the city and into Kenora. Googs are one of the store’s best-selling items and consists of a blueberry milkshake with a banana, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Sargent Sundae is now open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. BDI is open Tuesday through Friday from 2 to 9 p.m., Monday and Saturday from 2 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m.

Published in Volume 78, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 28, 2024)

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