Inspired by a road trip and his love for ice cream, Willie Justus started his own creamery a few months ago featuring artisan flavors and handcrafted quality.
No Coast Creamery was established in February by Justus and co-owner Hanna Berglund. It’s a small operation at the present, selling by the pint in limited runs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Justus, 22, considers himself an ice cream aficionado. But it wasn’t until a month-long road trip to the West Coast last year, where along the way he sampled several ice cream shops, that his own entrepreneurial interest took hold.
He had a few basic tenets to work under, the foremost of which were local ingredients and eclectic flavors.
“I grew up on a standard Midwestern diet of pretty normal things,” Justus said. “I find these flavors really fascinating, and I want to bring that to other people.”
One of those flavors was cereal milk, in which Justus steeped Fruity Pebbles in the dairy and then included some of the cereal in the finished product. Another popular flavor was the matcha green tea with honey swirls. The ingredients are acquired locally with the dairy coming from Kilgus Farmstead and the fresh eggs from Hanna City.
Those ingredients were not part of the very first iteration of No Coast Creamery. Initially, Justus wanted to create only vegan ice cream.
The finished product of those first runs were not up to his exacting standards, and he decided to shelve the whole project. Justus returned to the project with a standard ice cream and has even dabbled in a few vegan-friendly sorbets.
The do-it-yourself quality extends to the delivery of the ice cream. Customers place their orders through the No Coast Creamery Facebook (www.facebook.com/nocoastcreamery/) page and distinguish if they want pick-up or delivery. If the order is from Pekin, where Justus is based out of, he’ll deliver it by bicycle. Otherwise, the address listed on the Facebook page marks the convenient pick-up location.
Despite the relatively small scope of the project at the moment, Justus has ambitions for bigger things in the future. His goal is to operate out of a food truck eventually, where he can go mobile and sell the ice cream at different locations or events.
For now, he’s saving all of the profits for the future expenses of the food truck. He also launched a Kickstarter for those who have enjoyed the ice cream and want to see a bigger operation materialize.
Justus will have samples of his ice cream at Midnight Espresso at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 16.
No Coast Creamery will have a presence around the area at various events over the course of the summer under the support of other local businesses.
“I work at thirty-thirty (Coffee Co.) and am inspired by them,” Justus said. “That was something that seemed like an uphill battle at first. And I would like to grow something like that as well.”