Doug Tallman hoped to open an ice cream shop at the entrance to Richland’s Howard Amon Park in time for a hot Tri-Cities summer.
It’s taking longer than expected to transform a former lawyer’s office into a cozy ice cream spot and Amethyst Creamery will open in early October.
But no matter that it’s cooler now.
Amethyst will have other options for customers — coffee and crystals.
“I’ve been a rock hound all my life. That’s where the ‘amethyst’ part comes in,” said Tallman, a painting contractor and veteran entrepreneur who once owned a rock shop in Sun River, the resort community near Bend, Ore.
When it opens, Amethyst will serve about 28 flavors of ice cream, plus a vegan and a lactose-free line, presuming he can find a supplier willing to deliver in the Tri-Cities.
He said that’s been more of a challenge than he expected.
His ice cream comes from Wisconsin.
There will be coffee for the adults and gems and minerals from all over the world for rock hounds — amethyst crystals from Brazil, fossils from South Carolina and finds from Morocco, India, China and elsewhere.
“Neat things,” he said.
The shop will use biodegradable paper, spoons, cups and other service ware.
Tallman said his boyhood fascination with rocks grew into a full-fledged adult passion that led him to Sun River. Central Oregon is a rock hound’s heaven.
He opened a shop, that he later sold, in a Sun River retail complex in 2008. He noticed the corner ice cream shop seemed to stay busy.
When he moved back to the Tri-Cities for family and health reasons, he spied an opportunity in the form of a vacant office off George Washington Way at the entrance to Howard Amon., across from the Dugout sports bar.
He will cater to park visitors, the thousands of motorists who drive past daily, and guests from the cruise ships that dock at the foot of Lee Boulevard.
And it’s just a couple blocks from the $20 million Park Place apartment retail complex under construction on George Washington Way.
“You can’t have a better location,” he said.
He signed a five-year lease and is self-funding his startup.
He began working on the project in April.
While he’s disappointed Amethyst Creamery wasn’t open for the busy summer season, he’s optimistic that the coffee and gem and mineral side of the business will bring in an all-weather crowd to the prime location.