ROCKPORT — Therese Inman admits there were “a lot of tears” gearing up for the opening of Freya’s Ice Cream on Main Street.

Once she and her husband Garett Reppenhagen opened July 21 there were only tears of joy, though, as the 770 square-foot shop became a quaint dessert oasis reality — complete with a view of the harbor — to grab a sweet treat when the cravings call.

Therese Inman, left, and Garett Reppenhagen open Freya’s Ice Cream in downtown Rockport Main Street. Photo by Zack Miller

Dreams to reality

Inman and Reppenhagen, along with their child, moved to Maine in July 2021 from Colorado to “pursue their dreams.”

“We knew we wanted to start a business,” Inman said. “A long time ago, we always dreamed of a bed-and-breakfast or some sort of community gathering space where we could do a lot for the community, or maybe a pub. We then brought it down to a little bit more realistic visions of what business could we start with just ourselves, something we enjoy, and bring joy to the community as a cornerstone of the community.”

Up popped Freya’s — named for the Norse goddess in charge of love, fertility, battle and death — which serves gelato, sorbetto and sorbet treats to customers near and far, with crepes slated to join the menu in September.

“We traveled Europe a little bit and we wanted to bring a little bit of Europe back to the United States with us,” Reppenhagen said. “Gelato and crepes were always an idea we had and we loved the little crepe stands in different European towns. We always wanted a place where we could gather and do events in and build more relationships with our community.”

Setting up shop

It took the Lincolnville residents, along with their landlords, three-and-a-half months to renovate their current space and build a deck which overlooks the harbor, but the “open canvass” provided a perfect spot to start their dream.

“Our landlords were really wonderful and had lots of vision that we all collaborated on to make this space,” Inman said.

Inman is the main employee for the shop, as Reppenhagen — a former Army Calvary scout and sniper — is the executive director of the international non-profit Veterans for Peace, but Inman admits it was a significant life change coming from Colorado as a certified nursing assistant at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

Freya’s Ice Cream interior. Photo courtesy of Freya’s Ice Cream Facebook page

“I worked with tiny babies and during a global pandemic, which was an interesting thing,” Inman said. “It was a rewarding space to be in but demanding. The schedule, while not too much different now, was more difficult to be away from my family for long days.”

Neither Inman nor Reppenhagen had any experience with gelato on a commercial scale before, but the “hobby” for Inman started around eight years ago with a home electric ice cream machine making ice cream for birthday parties and the family to have at home.

“I just tried to hack my way into it from the other side of it without a formal education,” Inman said. “It’s kind of on a whim, but its pretty straight forward and we are keying in our recipes but its fun and experimentation and creativity all come into it.”

Reppenhagen has experience working with other treats, as he used to work for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory headquartered in Durango, Colo., making candy, fudge and caramel apples, as well as working as an artesian bread maker.

Small space, big flavors

Despite the lack of starting experience, Inman threw herself into the sweet world, as all the gelato, sorbetto and sorbet is homemade.

“I do not make it every day, because I don’t have a big enough kitchen or enough staff,” Inman said. “I do make it many days. Usually, I stagger it and try to do all my dairy recipes on one day or at least seclude that from my dairy free recipes.”

Therese Inman preps the product Saturday morning, Aug. 6. Photo by Zack Miller

The allergy friendly flavors are made on their own special day so not to contaminate them with the non-allergy friendly flavors.

“Some of the flavors take a couple of days because they are multi-step process,” Inman said. “Our coffee soaks for 24 hours in the gelato base before we churn it, so that needs to be done several days in advance. Many days I do at least one flavor during our slow hours.”

The small kitchen has an even smaller machine which takes 20-25 minutes for each 5-liter pan to churn.

“I make three pans in a batch, so it takes about an hour-and-a-half for all three pans to be turned, which doesn’t include any prep work or finishing if I’m adding in Oreos or raspberry syrup,” she said. “It can take be time intensive, especially with the size of my machine. That does mean that everything is very handcrafted and its going to be the best quality it can be.”

“We use a lot of natural ingredients, so sometimes we depend on what’s seasonal to make the ice cream,” Reppenhagen said.

Flavors can be packed down into a fresh waffle cone made from a press behind the counter, with sugar cones and dishes also available.

Current mouthwatering flavors include blueberries and cream; blueberry and basil sorbetto; strawberry sorbet; pineapple lemon verbena sorbet; peach Bellini sorbet; chocolate sorbet; sweet cream; salted caramel; coffee; chocolate chip cookie dough (cookie dough is made in-house from scratch and egg free); amoretti cookie; raspberry cheesecake; and tiramisu.

Grand Opening on horizon

Once the “ice cream” has been mastered, Inman and Reppenhagen plan to hold a grand opening celebration the second weekend of September, which is when sweet and savory crepes make their debut on the menu.

“Most people are excited about crepes and are waiting,” Inman said.

Garett Reppenhagen stocks the showcase ahead of opening. Photo by Zack Miller

The crepes will be made fresh from a crepe station that is “starting to form in our counter space” so people can watch their food being made while they wait.

“That’s the joy of crepes: Watching people make them fresh right in front of you,” she said.

Initial sweet crepes include Crepes Suzette, fruit and Nutella and crepes with gelato, while savory crepes will be light sandwiches converted into crepes in “what you would think of a light dinner or good lunch food.”

With another menu item on the way and Inman the only official employee at the moment, the work load has been heavy, but Reppenhagen, along with family volunteers, have lightened the load as Inman looks for staff.

“[I’m] waiting to see what type of capacity is needed to hire people,” she said. “I don’t know if the initial excitement of a new place is going to last, so I want to make sure we are sustainable, but definitely looking for staff.”

“This whole place wouldn’t have happened without Therese’s initiative,” Reppenhagen said. “The amount of work to get to this point has ben intense. I’ve already seen that work ethic before we opened because there were a lot of late nights crunching numbers, making orders, researching and doing other things.”

“It makes me so happy and overjoyed to see the response from people to really have some place to come too in town and not drive to Camden or Rockland,” Inman said. “We are still getting people coming from Camden and Rockport to us, but people are excited to have something quick, fun and a good atmosphere.”

View of the Rockport harbor from Freya’s Ice Cream deck. Photo by Zack Miller

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