(This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Rica Sunga-Kwan and Christopher Kwan, Owners
Churn Urban Creamery + Bakery’s mission is to provide eggless ice cream products and baked goods through a sustainable brand that serves the conscious consumer and supports local businesses and local farms. To focus on sustainability and seasonality is important to our business. To provide the consumer with the freshest possible flavor, at peak season, is the goal. And to grow a number of ingredients ourselves is the highest goal.
Since our signature product is ice cream and we rely heavily on vanilla products (i.e., vanilla extract and vanilla paste), we have started to make our own vanilla extract in-house. Vanilla costs have staggered upwards through the years, with no end in sight. Global warming has affected this crop in countries like Madagascar and Tahiti. Making our own vanilla product is easy and reduces our vanilla costs by 80%.
Our Creamery employs an Eco Scoop Shower Dipwell. When it comes to utensils that are frequently in use, the health department has strict guidelines in regards to how those utensils are stored and used. Previously, ice cream scoopers had to be held in a container that’s submerged in running water. That water is constantly drained and replaced with fresh water, a wasteful process. The Eco Scoop Shower Dipwell enables us to wash out the ice cream scoops by pressing into a sprayer head. The sprayer head cleans the underside of the scoop and more water exits the top of the device, cleaning the top and bottom of the scoop. This equipment lowers our water bills and helps our company do our part to be ecologically responsible.
Secret of Success
2020 proved that we are a scrappy and adaptable bunch! Our relationship with our farmers at our farmers’ market outposts assist us in getting some of the best fruits possible for our ice cream and pastries.
We pivoted a bunch in 2020. Some of the business pivots have stayed: a new baking department, a new coffee program, a return to farmers’ markets; and we’ve transitioned out of others: the marketplace/grocery addition. 2021 will be the year where we maximize those pivots. We are going to focus more on expanding Churn’s presence at farmers’ markets with our ice cream and baked goods. Farmers’ markets are a great way to create brand awareness and increase revenue without the buildout cost of another brick-and-mortar location. There is also a whole emerging market with this new hybrid work-from-home crowd. What was once our corporate business – ice cream happy hours, ice cream birthday treats – will morph into something slightly different. So, it’s our job to figure out what that is and what opportunities open up for us in that arena. Most importantly, we learned in 2020 that marketing can take us places. We are currently growing our in-house marketing team by creating branded merchandise, focusing on our social media, and maybe starting a Tik Tok page?! Who knows, but we’re going to try to have lots of fun with it!
Visit www.churnsf.com/ for more info.