Clumpies Ice Cream Co. has grown from a single NorthShore store to three locations sprinkled throughout the area’s top destinations.
A Scenic City Staple
With the opening of Clumpies Ice Cream Co. in 1999 came a uniquely local business. Over time, it’s become a hometown favorite, and for many, even a childhood staple. “I’ve loved Clumpies since I was a kid. It’s a great Chattanooga brand,” says Doug Chapin, now manager of the business.
Chapin was brought on board in December of 2012 after iconic Lookout Mountain tourist destination, Rock City, purchased the business. “I don’t think Rock City would have gotten involved if it wasn’t a signature Chattanooga business like Clumpies,” he says. “We wanted to deliver on its guest service experience here and continue the tradition on.”
Their goal now, he says, is to build on the shop’s original vibe. “Our plan is to still make Clumpies the best ‘Clumpies’ it can be. I want to keep growing the business and take it to the next level.”
A Signature Brand
When asked about keys to success, Chapin points to Clumpies’ focus on a quality product.
“I think our narrative in the city is a unique one. We are the original craft ice cream company in town, and I love the small-batch feel,” he says, noting that they make no more than 10 gallon batches of each flavor at a time. “We put a lot of love and care into everything we make.”
To get a taste of Clumpies’ one-of-a-kind, homemade flavors, locals and tourists can now visit one of three locations – all of which share the distinct black and white striped awning and friendly red sign. The original Clumpies is on NorthShore’s Frazier Avenue, while the two newer shops are located in St. Elmo and at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum at the top of Lookout Mountain.
While the downtown and St. Elmo locations are open year round, the Lookout Mountain location serves customers only during the sweltering summer months. “We wanted tourists who visited the attractions to be able to try Clumpies without having to commute,” Chapin says.
The Clumpies Experience
Chapin explains that part of Clumpies’ mission is to create memories worth repeating, both for regular customers and people who visit while passing through.
“The second half of that mission is to create memories worth repeating for our partners, which includes all those who work or have worked at Rock City or Clumpies,” he says.
Chapin believes this mission allows for a high standard and a culture of excellence. “It’s hard not to have fun when you’re scooping ice cream and making people happy, not to mention eating it,” he says.