Art.Ice.Zen has officially opened its Scoop Boutique at 73 Park Ave in Bloomfield. The dairy-free, vegan ice cream shop that was once a pop-up is stirring up some unique flavors and creations. Read on to learn more about Art.Ice.Zen.
Becoming Part of Bloomfield
The Scoop Boutique began its soft opening on Saturday, December 4th. Prior to this, Art.Ice.Zen operated out of the Salt Float Center where the owners, Kris Schmalz and Kevin Davies, were building the brand. Then the two hopped to Sparo’s Deli before traveling all over doing pop-ups around NJ and even to Miami to do pop-ups at the nightclub Space on the weekends.
Both owners work in construction and so have been revamping the building that’s now home to the Scoop Boutique. The decor, including the brand’s halo logo, was inspired by artist Keith Haring.
“We redid the whole building. I remodeled the building and kept it very minimal. One of our logos is a snowflake drip, hence the slogan ‘Make Ice Not War.’ I wanted it to be like a speakeasy,” Kris tells Montclair Girl. “We just have a little snowflake medallion [outside] but the windows are wide open so at night time you can see in and you’re going to know that we’re there. People are going to talk about it.”
^ Scoop Boutique is located at 73 Park Ave, Bloomfield, NJ
Kris adds, “The vision and the dream was to pop open this shop and build it out. I like to say if [designer] John Varvatos were to open up an ice cream shop, this is it. It’s been a dream but the journey has been about two years…This has been a labor of love, a passion project, and our hands are in everything.”
What’s Your Flava?
During the soft opening, Art.Ice.Zen will be selling pre-packaged 4-ounce, 8-ounce, and 16-ounce ice cream containers. Right now there are 16 flavors and growing of Italian ices and vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free ice cream.
Some flavors include Mistletoe, a coconut-based cranberry ice cream with Cointreau (orange) liquor infused with pistachio; Randy Watson, an almond butter-based ice cream with dark chocolate, gluten-free brownies, and dark sweet cherries; I’m In Love with the Coco, made with peppermint, gluten-free and vegan marshmallows, and chocolate chips; and The Big Apple, an oat-based ice cream infused with apple pie ice kreme and candied pecans.
Starting early January, the shop will be expanding its menu, bringing in a partnership with La Colombe Coffee and a pop-up with Harvey’s Hot Bagels.
“We’re doing a soft opening just because of winter. It’s basically opening the doors, finally just opening the doors,” Kris says. “Then come January, this is when we’ll rev it up a little bit. We’ll have pop-ups and we’ll rev it up to another level. In the springtime, we’re going to pop off as our official Scoop Boutique where you come in and get our waffle cones and all our flavors — the whole nine yards.”
The Meaning Behind Art.Ice.Zen
Co-owner Kris Schmalz shares with Montclair Girl that the newly opened shop has a “deeper meaning” to him than just selling the unique creations.
“The whole meaning of Art.Ice.Zen has been my journey back from being a complete junky dope head,” Kris, who worked in professional sports for many years, then in the nightlife and hospitality realm before getting treatment for his heroin addiction, says. “It’s my mind, body, soul. I found pop art, I got back into my arts, my music. The zen, it’s just a mindset. It’s awareness. I took up a lot of things to get to where I’m at right now…I lost everything and I fought to get everything back. We want to be the misfits, that’s our brand.”
Childhood and longtime pals Kris and Kevin knew that Bloomfield meshed well with their concept, especially since Kevin has been an owner of the building that’s now Scoop Boutique for many years.
“I love that the tentacles were up in Montclair but yet where we’re at, you got the Glen Ridge border, the Bloomfield Ave. It’s very diverse. It’s exactly who we are as a brand,” Kris says, “Our whole crew is just the full gambit of diversity and the building is in that epi-center of the area in Bloomfield. We’re very music-oriented, pop art, street art. Everything we do is one-of-a-kind-type stuff.”
Check Out Art.Ice.Zen
During the Scoop Boutique’s soft opening, the hours of operation are Saturday and Sunday from 12PM until 10PM or until the team sells out of all the flavors that day.
Right now, the shop is collaborating with Gumdrop Hairdressing for a toy drive, in which anyone who brings a new unwrapped toy or gift card donation to benefit the Bloomfield Police Youth Aid Division will receive a free 4-ounce treat.
Still to come, Art.Ice.Zen will have future store pop-ups, an exclusive merchandise line, and in-store entertainment.
“I just don’t want to be an ice cream shop on the corner. I’m using my entertainment connections and all from that world I was in. We can take the ice cream shop and [bring it to] Diddy’s party in the Hamptons, go to different events — things of that nature,” Kris adds. “We’re going to pop off here in the springtime and we’ll have outside seating.”
For all the exciting things to come, be sure to follow Art.Ice.Zen on Instagram here.