It’s not every day that Redding has a shop that makes you excited, nostalgic, and want to celebrate all at the same time. This City Spot struck a chord in me and for a reason you might not expect. You see much of my high school and college life was spent working in an ice cream shop, as an employee at a store in Kentucky. When I discovered that homemade, all-natural ice cream was coming to Redding and featuring local ingredients, my heart was delighted.
Keep on reading to discover the full story from my friends at Taste and See Creamery!
[Daniel]: It kind of started in our living room. Jake and I have been roommates for quite some time. We would process different ideas, kind of just for fun. We said, “What about ice cream?” The moment we said that, you could just feel that there was shift. We decided to contact my friend Cho. He was a friend from high school, who did ice cream in Los Angeles. We contacted him, and he gave us a couple of recipes. We tried it out, and it was phenomenal. We did it at the Bethel Bazaar last year. Our feedback was incredible, everyone loved it, and we saw that there was something there. One thing led to another, and doors just started opening up.
[Jake]: The funny fact about us making ice cream is neither one of us had a clue about how to actually make ice cream. It was completely trusting God and blind faith in the process. Every time that we ran into an obstacle we continued to pursue things, and things just kept opening up for us. One thing after another, maybe a year and a half later, here we are. We went from a conversation in our living room where we’re like, “This is kind of cool” to reality. It’s been a crazy trip, and things have happened in ways that are outside of our imagination, and it’s been really spectacular. God has continued to do things on our behalf, just like he does, because he’s a good dad.
[Cho]: What started my love and passion for making ice cream was when I was working at one of the restaurants in L.A. I went to pastry school in 2009 and started working at restaurants in L.A. One of the restaurants I worked at had a homemade ice cream machine, and that’s when I fell in love with making ice cream. I was kind of in charge of making all the ice cream, so I got to experiment a lot with different flavors. I played with different tea, different fruits, and all the other stuff.
[Cho]: My inspiration process starts with random ideas. Like, let’s say our toast and jam ice cream. I had never actually heard of a toast and jam ice cream flavor before and thought it sounded interesting. I always try to get into a complete dessert and turn that into an ice cream. Like the s’mores flavor. It has a nutella base, homemade graham crackers, and roasted marshmallows added to it. Whereas the toast and jam is basically a breakfast item. I turned that into an ice cream flavor with a vanilla base, toast, and strawberry jam. I get inspired by dishes, plates, or other dessert ideas.
[Cho]: When we scouted Redding, we knew there weren’t any gourmet ice cream shops around. They had other ice cream stores where they would buy ice cream from other places, but no store was making homemade ice cream in the kitchen themselves. We have creative flavors with local ingredients that no one else has. The city of Redding: I don’t think they had anything like this before.
[Daniel]: As far as risk goes, you know there’s always hesitancy as to whether or not to jump forward. Is there something in this? We actually got confirmation through horse racing. Jake was telling me about this horse called California Chrome that won the Kentucky Derby two years ago. The moment he says that I heard God say, “Read on this horse.” I’m like okay. So I do. It’s a horse bred by two Texas business owners, with no horse racing industry experience whatsoever. They breed a $8,000 no-name mare, no racing lineage, with another regular horse. Two weeks before the horse is born, the owner has a dream with a chestnut mare with a white stripe down its nose. As soon as he saw this, he thought of Secretariat. The horse is born and looks exactly like Secretariat. Everyone called these owners dumbasses, because they had no racing experience. They named their company D.A.P, Dumb Ass Partners, and their emblem is a donkey. The horse wins the Kentucky Derby and goes on to win the Preakness. It goes down in history as the only horse with no racing lineage to win the Kentucky Derby. The moment we discovered this story, it was a green light for us. God was reminding us, “Don’t worry what people are going to think, what they’re going to say. If they call you dumb asses, I’ve got your back in this.”
Initially we were going to do a delivery service in Redding. Looking back on it- absurd. We were going to rent a kitchen from a local church, pack it, and deliver it in the area. One thing led to another, and we became connected with the new owners of Shasta Mall. That led to a revision of our plan and how we’re here today. We got to a point where we literally weren’t even trying anymore. Doors were opening, and we were just walking through. There was something good and beautiful about this idea.
[Jake]: When we met with the manager of the mall, without any business model or numbers, he agreed to give us a contract for a lease. He didn’t even try our product. We haven’t even sold a scoop of ice cream yet, and he’s giving us a lease in the mall and is working with us to help us be more successful than we could have other ways. He’s given us some benefits and opportunities that not everybody gets, just really bending over backwards to see us be successful. One of the biggest things that we noticed is they seemed to believe in us even more than we believed in ourselves. Which is really interesting, because like we said, we didn’t really even have a business. We had an idea, a hope, and a dream, but as far as an actual plan, we didn’t have that. People just believed in us and saw the potential in us and cool things continued to happen. It was really special.
[Daniel]: We continue to want to be connected to the city. We don’t want to have the approach of, “You are the customers, and we are the business.” We want to do a lot more, whether little leagues or the festivals here. We want to get connected with Cool April Nights and the Fair. Anything Redding has to offer, we want to have a presence there. We want our ice cream shop to be Redding’s ice cream shop. Because really in Redding you have larger corporations and soft-serves. We want there to be a heartfelt connect with our shop. One where people can be proud of the product and the way it represents the city.
We’ve been getting opportunities to expand and come into different malls, which is really funny seeing that we just opened.
[Jake]: I think that one of our core values is that we really want to create unity and do it in the community. One of the things that is pretty true universally is that everyone loves ice cream. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what sort of food you grew up with, everyone loves ice cream. We believe that Taste & See can really build unity and family within the community. That’s a culture we really value and embrace inside of our work environment and we would like that to spill over into the community. We also like to give back and be generous. Part of our profits we give to charities, seeing ice cream shift culture one scoop at a time.
[Thomas]: Where our heart’s at, we just don’t want to sell ice cream. We want to get involved in the community. We want to hear about people’s flavor ideas. Come on in and let us know, we might just do one batch and try it out. We’re going to do things like that where we’re going to get the community involved in the business, too. We want things to be very interactive. “Together” is one of our mottos.
[Jake]: Believe in yourself. Be willing to take risks. There’s blind risks and then there’s calculated risks. We did a bit of calculation, but a lot of it was blind as well. We continued to pursue it. When you have a dream and you see potential, if you really have something that you know is a good product and believe people will want it, just go for it and don’t take “no” for an answer. There were several times where we could have stopped and not known what to do next, but we continued to press on and then things would open up.
[Daniel]: On a practical note, whatever you project moneywise, think to double it. Your projections will always be on the shy scale, even if you think you’ve added plenty of contingencies. There are so many intangibles, things that can break, or things that will happen costing you far more than what you expected. Plan accordingly and have a good cash flow behind you.
The second thing is you’ve just got to do it. You can plan, plan, and theorize and theorize, but at the end of the day, business is just about doing it.
[Cho]: Take your time. Don’t rush things. In the beginning this is incredibly important. We learned this and tried to open early. We weren’t mentally or physically prepared.
[Thomas]: If you’re going into business with multiple people, choose your partners well. One thing cool thing for me is watching these guys interact. They work together really well.
Taste and See Creamery is located on Market Street. Make sure to try my favorite, the blueberry goat cheesecake and tell them I sent you.