Ice cream cart is sweet at Coventry

Elizabeth Hoelzle

Perhaps you’ve noticed something different on Coventry Road lately. Maybe you’ve seen more people than usual relaxing on street benches, or just strolling down the street. Maybe you’ve noticed a street cart between two trees outside of Phoenix Coffee. If you’ve seen any of these things, the reason is probably Sweetie Fry.

Sweetie Fry is the newest addition to Coventry, bringing artisan ice cream to Cleveland Heights. Like its ice cream, this new addition is anything but ordinary.

It all started when Keith Logan, creator and owner of Sweetie Fry, became bored with the business world. Frequent meetings and travel had become dull. Then, Logan took a faith development class at Forest Hill Church, and discovered he loved craftsmanship.

"Craftsmanship to me is learning to do a task and continuing to learn that task ten years down the line," said Logan.

Logan also learned that he loved hospitality and bringing community together. So, when his wife suggested that his next career move should be ice cream, Logan recognized an exciting opportunity.

Logan sees ice cream as combining craftsmanship and hospitality. "Ice cream brings the community together," he said.

He spent several months taking classes and participating in training programs to learn the craft of making ice cream. One class was the 119th annual ice cream training program at Penn State. Logan then traveled the United States, visiting the best ice cream shops in the nation. He learned unique methods of making ice cream and rounded up the best ingredients he could find.

The next step was to find a Cleveland Heights location where he could share his new expertise. Although Coventry was one of his first choices, there were no openings for him. Logan eventually found a spot on Lee Road. Sweetie Fry on Lee, however, will not be ready for business until September. This brought Logan right back to the idea of Coventry. He approached Steve Presser, director of the Coventry Special Improvement District and owner of Big Fun, and Sarah Wilson Jones, CEO and superbarista of Phoenix Coffee on Coventry, with a proposal.

Presser immediately liked Logan’s idea of a gourmet ice cream street cart. He put Logan in touch with the city and other Coventry merchants and Logan received approval.

"Cleveland Heights has always had a sweet tooth. Quality artisan ice cream is going to bring lots of pedestrian traffic," said Presser.

Wilson Jones was instantly impressed with Logan’s business background and financial projections, but was not sold on Sweetie Fry . . . that is, until she tried the samples. Now, Phoenix Coffee and Sweetie Fry are enjoying their new relationship.

"The two companies have a branding overlap in values and in their connection to the neighborhood. We are excited to promote and embrace like-minded businesses," said Wilson Jones. She was proud that Coventry merchants were so accepting of Sweetie Fry and believes that the merchants and the Cleveland Heights community should see this cart as one of their own.

When Sweetie Fry opens on Lee Road, Logan plans to offer french fries, along with ice cream flavors such as peanut butter, vanilla bean, mango-banana, maple bacon, and a Phoenix-inspired espresso.

The name Sweetie Fry came from Logan’s youngest daughter, Maura. Logan had asked his family for help, but after 150 suggestions, nothing inspired him. Then, Maura suggested Sweetie Fry. Logan instantly loved the quirky and affectionate sound of the name, "as quirky and affectionate as Sweetie Fry will be," he said.

Look for Sweetie Fry to open some time in September, at 2307 Lee Road.

Jim Perkins

Jim Perkins, a Heights Observer Intern, is currently earning a master's degree in communication management at John Carroll University.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 1:05 PM, 08.02.2011