All good things come to an end.
Ice Cream Impossible will soon be putting away their scoops, and deep fryer permanently. The shop, which has been a staple and community favourite in Lake Cowichan for the past nine years, will be closing their doors for good at the end of this month.
“September 30, is my last day doing business in the store,” said owner Beverly North. “I’m 75 years old and I have worked all of my life, I’m tired of working, and don’t want to anymore, so I’m not going to.”
The plan is simple, to enjoy retirement. North kids that she wants to clean her house, but what she is really looking forward to is catching up with family and heading to Las Vegas come May to see her son get married. Otherwise she has her sights set on just enjoying life.
“That’s the only travelling I’m doing, otherwise I’m not going anywhere,” said North. “We’re in paradise, why would I want to go anywhere else? There’s nowhere to go that’s better than this.”
Originally from Halifax, it was the weather that first drew North to the Lake Cowichan area just over 25 years ago. She comes from a military background, and spent years working with RCMP victim services.
“I saw enough tragedy that I wanted to see nothing but happiness,” said North. “What’s happier than ice cream?”
North first began her business out of a trailer in 2015 from which she sold her famous fried ice cream. She found much success travelling to local events and renting a spot at the Lake Cowichan senior centre.
“I kept selling out every day,” said North. “I couldn’t keep up with it, and needed to get a bigger spot. That is how this all got started. It was just ice cream in the very beginning, then I branched out to other things, and about five years ago I expanded into fish and chips. It was a total business decision. This town makes money in the summer, and then business dies off in the winter. They use their summer profits to support the monthly payments throughout the winter. For me, my fish and chips took care of the winter, and the ice cream took care of the summer, so it was a perfect divide. Word travels, so I have always had a good reputation for both the fish and chips, and the ice cream.”
North will be liquidating all of the equipment and smaller stuff in her shop from the months of October to December while she finishes off her lease. While the summer season is North’s busiest time, she admits she prefers serving community members over tourists.
“I adore serving the locals in the winter,” said North. “They are not customers, they are my friends, and if they are not a friend they soon will be. I really love the people of this area, they are amazing. However, I’m really looking forward to retirement. There comes a time in a person’s life when enough is enough, and it’s time.”
North has had one heck of a run, and was one of the few businesses during COVID whose income actually went up; during this time she hired three employees.
“It turns out I was one of five per cent of Canadian businesses that went up during COVID, instead of down,” said North. “That’s a remarkable record for any business person. To have a small store, in a small town survive for nine years in the food industry is remarkable. The restaurant business is the most volatile business in the world, you have to know what you are doing, the business angle of it, and to be able to spin on a dime when your circumstances change.”
For nearly a decade Ice Cream Impossible has been a special and favourite place for community and tourists alike serving up unforgettable treats. North says she has her deep fried ice cream recipe down to a science, and credits cabin fever for its creation. Using filo pastry and rolling it by hand North shares she would typically sell 80 to 100 a day. She could have been a Dragon’s Den contender as she was approached by the television production that looks for businesses to invest in three different times after reaching out to them initially with her perfected recipe, but at the time she did not have a business plan, nor was it a priority for her to develop one. She adds she may hand it down, and leave it in the capable hands of her much younger brother.
“I’ve done enough work in my life, I’m done with all that now, let someone else take it up and go for it,” said North. “I hope that all my customers over the years have had really good experiences here. I did it, it’s done, it’s gonna be wrapped, folded, and put away. There’s an ending to everything, and this will end on a good note, not a bad one.”