Spring Lake Township resident Blair Kunkel purchased the Ferrysburg ice cream shop several days ago. She will rename it A La Mode.
The 2011 Spring Lake High School graduate said she has been feasting on Miss Lisa's ice cream cones and sundaes since she was a baby.
“I don't ever remember not going there, to be honest,” Kunkel said. “I'm a sundae kind of person and I always liked the sundaes. That's what I want to specialize in — specialty sundaes so I can utilize my pastry skills and create something we don't have around here.”
Kunkel, 26, a former Amway Grand Hotel and Ritz Carlton (Tucson, Arizona) pastry chef, plans to make homemade chocolate chip cookies, brownies and strawberry shortcake as the base of her specialty sundaes. She will continue to serve the Hudsonville hard ice cream brand, but plans to add about 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream.
Kunkel hopes to open the shop by Memorial Day weekend, after making some aesthetic changes.
“We're giving her a little facelift,” she said. “We're going to paint the building and put up a new sign. We'll still have all the picnic tables and play structures. We're going to remain an ice cream shop and will still have some food, like hot dogs and barbecue.”
The facelift will bring a palette of new colors to the small building in the heart of Ferrysburg.
“The building will be white and we're going to paint the bricks and trim pink,” Kunkel said. “We want to give it a very fun feel. I want it to be very bright and colorful so that kids want to go there, eat ice cream and play.”
After the Ritz Carlton in Tucson closed for renovations, Kunkel decided to quit her pastry chef job there and return to her West Michigan roots.
“I wanted to be closer to family, to be my own boss and do something I love,” she said. “I've been looking at places for a while (to run her own business). I looked at a couple of other places, then Miss Lisa's became available.”
Former owner Dorothy Wheat opted not to open Miss Lisa’s on March 10 this year, as she had every year prior, and put the business on the market.
Kunkel said she feels fortunate to be opening a business with such a loyal customer following. Miss Lisa's typically had lines of customers waiting for food and ice cream.
Kunkel said she plans to continue Miss Lisa's traditions of daily food and sweet specials, as well as “flavor of the week” features. She also plans to honor Wheat's March 10 annual opening, but that will have to wait until next year.