After years of mobile vending their frozen treats from their trademark modified pink classic Chevrolet truck under the moniker Lazy Dog Ice Cream, owners Bob and Deb Peterson have opened the doors to Lazy Dog Chocolateria in downtown Grass Valley.
With the help of Ben Keck, 20, the Petersons revamped the old Wild Plum Sweetery, located at 111 Mill St., which itself was a cozy shop where hand-crafted chocolates, gelato, coffee and baked goods were sold.
While the cozy atmosphere remains, there certainly is more pink.
“We got our pink on,” said Deb Peterson of their thematic color.
The inside of Lazy Dog Chocolateria is packed with chocolate of all shapes and sizes, from large chocolate molds of turkeys and basketballs to handmade turtles, toffees and dipped nuts.
The store’s front display cases hold a vintage ice cream bicycle given to Bob Peterson by Minnesota Shriners. The other case holds half of an old Chevy Truck, painted to look like the one they will continue to use to deliver their treats. The new one came from an Old Navy store display.
“Watching men stop with dread in their faces when they see the cut truck is hilarious,” Deb Peterson said.
In the back of the store are the couple’s frozen concoctions, which have garnered a local following. Some of the flavors include Bailey’s Irish Cream, bing cherry, cappucino crunch, mocha almond fudge, sidecar scooter and Swiss orange chip.
“Most people come in and know exactly (which frozen) treat they want,” said Keck, who is poised to take over the business from the Petersons some day.
“This isn’t something we did because lost our minds. We’ve known Ben since he was five,” said Deb Peterson. “We’re doing this to teach him and give him a job. This is all for him.”
While the Peterson’s treats have plenty of fans, not everyone was lining up to carry on their tradition of making those sweets.
Peterson herself learned the trade from an 86-year-old Fred Herschler, who had the trade passed down through his family.
“I never really understood why he thought it was so incredible that someone was interested in doing what he had done his whole life,” said Peterson, 61, of when she learned to make chocolates and other sweets by hand.
“I really understand it now what Fred was thinking at the time,” she said. “Ben, he really thinks this is what he wants to do. So we’re going to teach him everything there is to know.”
Besides providing Keck the opportunity to run the business, the Chocolateria marks the Petersons’ return to a storefront. The couple has been providing sweet treats to Western Nevada County for nearly 35 years and previously operated Confectionately Yours in Nevada City in the 1980s, before taking the popular treats on the road.
“It’s been fantastic,” Peterson said of the new shop. “I’m really appreciating that people are reminding us of things I used to make a million years ago at Confectionately Yours. It has been such a long time since we had such a wide selection.”
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.