Summer Scoops at
Osborne Materials/VisitingNewEngland small business partnership - Local Small Business Stories
Osborne Materials Paves the Way for Summer Scoops Ice Cream in
A joyous visit to the only
combination ice cream stand, nursery and landscape material yard in
Outdoor home improvements meet ice cream at Summer Scoops at
Osborne Materials. Photo credit: Osborne Materials.
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz.
created on 5/15/2019.
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Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass., looks unlike any other ice cream
Part of that unique experience happens just before arriving. The
prospects initially look dim for an ice cream stand anywhere in sight.
One yellow sign after another reveals a business on the horizon that
sells landscaping and hardscape items. One has to wonder
if the online maps app got the location wrong.
All of a sudden, however, a brightly colored ferris wheel and a
cheerful, sunny yellow-painted building with a glimpse of what looks
like ordering windows confirms there just might be an ice cream stand
on the horizon.
Approaching Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery.
Soon, a classic ice cream stand is fully realized with crowds of
families everywhere lining up to order some frozen treats...
Summer Scoops ice cream stand. Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.
Within that classic ice cream stand template, Summer Scoops ultimately
takes the pavement less traveled veering far away from typical ice
cream stand characteristics. For starters, the immaculately
designed pavers replace the more common dirt and worn concrete under
A beautiful, customer-friendly layout at Summer Scoops.
The surroundings often look more like a park than a plain old vanilla
ice cream spot. There's the ornamental ferris
wheel, non-motorized wood train for the kids to climb onto, a wooden
tractor with slide in the back, a giant checker set, the Summer Scoops famous gigantic Adirondack chair painted the colors of summer, a bright red Volkswagen Beetle
with the Summer Scoops logo, a tall tree with star on top, and a wrought iron
mini re-creation of the Eiffel Tower. Seating is
not just relegated to the tailgate of an SUV or
picnic tables (the latter of which Summer Scoops has plenty) as chairs, swings,
gazebos, hardscape displays of granite tables and paver walls provide plenty of options to
relax and enjoy the ice cream.
Unilock pavement, swingset and wooden train at Summer Scoops.
In a nutshell, it's an ideal family ice cream destination. But it's
also a destination that goes beyond ice cream in a way that you will
not see in Massachusetts and possibly all of New England.
What really makes Summer Scoops different is that it's part of the
Osborne Materials building, the largest hardscape display in New England offering a wide variety of supplies to contractors and homeowners. Truly a small business success story, Osborne
Materials was born out of owner Eric Osborne's deep love for
outside. His first two childhood jobs were working at a local church
and town park by maintaining the landscape and grounds. From
1986 to 2012, Osborne ran his business in very modest conditions before
having the beautiful building constructed as a centerpiece to his
“I enjoyed working outside with a variety of
Eric, of his humble beginnings. "I was given a lawn mower and started
working for myself. I
worked out of a trailer for the first 20 years of business. I built up
enough equity to afford a nice building and to add Summer Scoops.”
Osborne provides contractors and homeowners
with high quality wall systems, paving materials, natural stone
products for indoor and outdoor design, mulch (including organic leaf
mulch), loam, stone and sand. They also sell firepits, mailboxes and
lanterns, firewood, pellets, tools, fertilizer and seed and artificial
grass. The list goes on.
Osborne Materials shares the same building as
Summer Scoops. Photo credit: Osborne Materials.
Eric's father, Bernard, has worked at Osborne for many years and is known to
all employees as Papa. The grandkids share some very special memories
Grandpa and granddaughter Hailey in 2003. Photo, courtesy of
When mom or dad has the idea of going out for an ice cream,
different cravings also occur when arriving to see all the resources to
beautify the yard.
"Customers coming for ice cream will ask at the ice cream windows where they can find more information on the displays," said Coralee Osborne, daughter of Eric and manager of Summer
Scoops. "There are product catalogues displayed throughout the yard for customers to look at after Osborne Materials store hours."
Coralee said that her dad always wanted to own an ice cream place. She
and her sisters, Hailey and Ashley, thought he was kidding, but it turns out he was
"It was my dad's decision to open Summer Scoops," said Coralee. "He
always wanted an ice cream shop, even when my sisters and I were little
Osborne family: Eric, Coralee, Hailey, Ashley and Eric's wife Tracie at
the 2012 grand opening. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.
Since opening in 2012, Summer Scoops has become a local seasonal
favorite (summer and parts of spring and fall) bringing
in crowds throughout the day and into the hot summer nights where ice
cream lovers tend to most frequently unite.
“They complement each other," said Eric about Summer Scoops and Osborne
Materials. "Both businesses people shop at because they enjoy to -- not
because they have to.”
Coralee is all on board with Summer Scoops just as much as enthusiastic
kids on the wooden train. In seven years, she has seen Summer Scoops
become the local, happy place.
"I love it," said Coralee, of Summer Scoops. "It's fun watching my staff grow from freshman in high school to sophomores in college.
Moms and dads come with their kids for ice cream. They are happy to
enjoy the ice cream in such nice surroundings. We have lots of
Coralee also makes sure that Summer Scoops is pet-friendly, too, given
her love for dogs.
"My dad nor do I have any pictures of ourselves without Magnolia or
Rosco (pet dogs)," said Coralee. "I love my dogs, that's why we are
pet-friendly. It's not fair to animals to be stuck at home. Magnolia
comes to work Monday through Friday and Rosco comes some days but he
goes to work with my boyfriend, also. People should be able to bring
their pets to enjoy an ice cream, too. We have a customer who comes all the time with a pet cat. There is enough room where if you don't like animals,
everyone can be separated and respectful of each other."
Coralee and Magnolia. Photo courtesy of Coralee Osborne.
So, How's The Ice Cream?
Strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
Delicious! Summer Scoops sources its ice cream extremely well from
Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar, Bliss,
and Gifford's. Crescent Ridge, in Sharon, Mass., was twice recognized by
National Geographic Traveler as one of the best ice cream places in the
world. Bliss, of Attleboro, Mass., is one of those local treasures that
has been around since 1929 and, to this very day, focuses on creating
freshly made ice cream. Gifford's is a household name in Maine, dating
back to the 1800s. Even with expansion, Gifford's has kept up the
quality that makes its ice cream one of the best tasting in New England.
Yummy vanilla ice cream from Summer Scoops. Photo
credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.
Summer Scoops offers cones and cups of hard and soft serve ice cream,
as well as sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cookies, shakes, frappes,
root beer and other sodas, sorbet freeze, sherbet coolers, raspberry
lime rickeys, floats and smoothies. Razzles are similar to Dairy
Queen's Blizzards, but far better because of the richer consistency and
stronger flavors. They consist of soft serve ice cream
(with more than 30 flavors to choose from) with add-ons like Oreo's, Reese's Pieces,
Reese's Chop Cups, Gummy Bears, Sour Gummy Worms, Butterfingers,
Heathbar, walnuts, peanuts and sprinkles.
Funfetti Razzle. Photo
credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.
The crowd basically goes wild over the ice cream and the other fun
"We love coming here," said Christina Allen. "It's always great to have
some ice cream and let the kids play and run around."
The Allen family enjoying Summer Scoops in the spring.
Chris Kalil, Sarah Dwyer and family enjoy the trek from Franklin to
"It's always nice coming here on a summer day," said Chris. "You have
the ice cream, the park, all that mulch for sale. My favorite ice
cream? Anything chocolate related!"
Some of the most popular flavors, according to Coralee: Cotton Candy,
Coffee Oreo, Strawberry Cheesecake, Fly Fishing Fudge, and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt,.
They also sell Kayem all beef hot dogs. Coralee said the hot dogs sell
well, but she has suspicions of why they are on the menu.
"My dad likes hot dogs," laughed Coralee. "It gives him something to
eat when my mom doesn't make his lunch."
Hot dogs from Summer Scoops. Photo
credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.
How Summer Scoops Further Connects with the Community
Ice cream is a sure fire way to make meaningful connections
in a small town like Plainville. Summer Scoops, however, goes way
beyond sweets, however, to foster close-knit relations with Plainville
and surrounding communities. In the summer, they celebrate Christmas in
July with a Toys for Tots Campaign. Santa is on hand, of course, no
matter how warm he gets in that suit!
Toys for Tots campaign at Summer Scoops. Photo credit: Facebook fan
Pumpkin painting takes place in September with customers trying
their artistic hands at creating the most personable pumpkin...
2018 Summer Scoops staff pumpkins. Photo credit: Facebook fan
"Growing up as kids in elementary school, our dad would bring in
sugar pumpkins for our class and we'd paint pumpkins in school," said
Coralee. "So when we opened Summer Scoops, I wanted to bring that
childhood memory to all the kids (it's all ages -- college kids and
parents come up to paint, too.), so I started to have Pumpkin Painting
at Summer Scoops and its a HUGE hit. It's a destination and a place where it's okay to get paint all over the table and floor.
It's something everyone looks forward to at the end of the summer! "
It is embedded in the Osborne's DNA to help others in the area.
“We always support our local community and the surrounding towns," said
Eric. "Whether it’s donated trees, mulch and other landscape materials,
helping out the Boy Scouts with projects, discounts to the senior
center and our local schools or supporting surrounding towns youth
Aerial photo of Osborne Nursery. Photo credit: Matt Reardon..
Osborne Materials and Summer Scoops epitomize how the American
Dream can come true for those who possess strong work ethic, honesty
and trustworthiness. You can hear the love for small town ways, the
importance of family and the love for neighbors -- including pets -- in
virtually every word that Coralee speaks straight from the heart.
A more recent photo of the Osborne family. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.
Osbornes clearly love helping people through Osborne Materials and seeing
customers create instant memories while enjoying ice cream at Summer
Scoops. The Osborne family has created its
own memories along the way that can be embraced forever and never taken
When the ferris wheel was operational back in 2000. Pictured: Ashley and Hailey. Photo,
courtesy of Coralee Osborne.
Customers sense the love, togetherness and devotion when at Osborne's
and Summer Scoops and naturally become magnetized to the positive
nature of the business and its people working there. By adding ice
cream, the community, no doubt, comes even closer together. Ice cream and
America have a wonderful relationship.
Enjoying ice cream on a summer day.. Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.
The beautiful feeling of a carefree summer ultimately takes center
stage at Osborne Materials and Summer Scoops indeed paving the way for a
fabulous place for ice cream and maybe a thought or two or three about
improving one's own property for more memories to be made back home.
"I feel our business is special," said Coralee. "People just love being here and are always happy when they come for ice cream."
Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery is located at 80 Washington, St., Route 1, in Plainville, MA. Tel. 508-695-8272.
Log onto the Summer Scoops web site, Facebook Fan Page and Instagram Page for
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Hidden gem: Schoolhouse Ice Cream in Burlington, Mass.
Hayward's Ice Cream in Nashua, N.H.
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