Wilmot's Hansen's Ice Cream Parlor planning to expand to Burlington

Wilmot's Hansen's Ice Cream Parlor planning to expand to Burlington

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BURLINGTON — Kelly and Adam Hansen didn’t have any background in business when they opened their first ice cream parlor in western Kenosha County in 2017. Kelly had experience in social work and Adam had experience in truck driving.

However, to their surprise, things have gone very well for their family business, even recently, despite the ongoing pandemic. So well, in fact, they’re expanding by opening a second location in Downtown Burlington.

Ice cream fanatics soon could be able to visit a second Hansen’s Ice Cream Parlor, this one at 129 E. Chestnut St. in Burlington’s Loop area, which is set to open in November.

The Hansens are moving in to the building that The Shy Violet boutique formerly occupied. The vintage and antique store closed its doors Feb. 29 but recently has been offering additional clearance sales of remaining merchandise.

Cathy and Charles Naber of Fort Atkinson own the building. The Hansens have signed a lease and were to have possession of the building as of July 1. The Hansens will be meeting with a building inspector and beginning the build-out process, which they expect will take about four months.

“We’re super excited,” Kelly Hansen said. “We can’t wait.”

Sweet success

The Hansens wanted to expand their business in a community that has a strong downtown and a strong sense of community. Hansen grew up in Grayslake, Ill. in Lake County, where she felt those aspects.

“I really feel like Burlington has that same sort of feel,” Kelly Hansen said. “I think it’s a great fit.”

Despite COVID-19, the family-owned business has been doing very well, she said. Customers at the 11323 Fox River Road location in Wilmot were able to pick up pints without contact during the state’s Safer at Home order.

“People really enjoyed it,” Hansen said. “I think it was that little piece of comfort during a difficult time.”

The Wilmot store is open seasonally, starting in March and ending in October each year. That location will remain seasonal, but the Burlington store is planned to be open year-round.

That’s due to the addition of an exciting new product: gourmet popcorn, which will be made fresh, in-store.

“Our current place is much too small to do that,” Hansen said.

The Hansens plan on starting out confecting 10 to 15 flavors, including caramel corn and cheese popcorn. Flavors will be adjusted as time goes on.

Upstairs, plans are to add a candy store. The Wilmot location already sells about 80 types of nostalgic candy — the Burlington location will expand on this, including bringing back Necco Wafers, Hansen said.

Plans call for indoor seating up to 30 people and outdoor seating in front of the building may be available, depending on space.

The new store will require a lot more staff, Hansen said. New team members will be hired and some will work at both locations.

The Hansens, along with their four children who help run the business, reside in Wilmot. But they will be spending most of their time in Burlington, especially because by the time the Burlington location is open, the Wilmot location will be closed for the season.

Honoring history

And, of course, the second location will be scooping ice cream. The Hansens are sticking with Cedar Crest, the Cedarburg-based ice cream supplier they’ve used for the past three years. Cedar Crest makes more than 80 flavors and those will be rotated in and out of the Burlington store.

At the Wilmot location, the business began naming sundaes after historical things to honor historical businesses, sites, traditions and monuments. For example, a sundae based on the Wilmot Stage Stop — a landmark 1848 chophouse restaurant well known in the area.

This tradition will continue in the new location, but sundaes will be named after historical sites and events from Burlington.

While there are a lot of places people can buy ice cream, Hansen said she hopes customers choose Hansen’s Ice Cream Parlor because of the way staff makes customers feel.

“We really, really just hope to provide quality ice cream, quality popcorn and quality candy in a fun environment in which customer service is the most important aspect of it,” she said. “We want everyone to come in like they’re coming into our home.”

If operating a second location proves successful, the Hansens plan to keep expanding, Hansen said.

“We really, really just hope to provide quality ice cream, quality popcorn and quality candy in a fun environment in which customer service is the most important aspect of it. We want everyone to come in like they’re coming into our home.” Kelly Hansen, of Hansen’s
Ice Cream Parlor
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