How’s the ice cream in Michigan? Richmond is about to find out.
Michigan-based Kilwins is scheduled to open in Carytown in early August at 3115 W. Cary St., in the former Carey Burke Carpets space. Kilwins serves homemade ice cream, heritage chocolate and caramel candies, homemade fudge (the recipe is from 1948, by the way), candied apples, chocolate-dipped cookies, and more.
With 125 locations nationwide, the Carytown spot will be the fourth for Virginia — the others are in Williamsburg, Charlottesville and Alexandria. Each location is a franchise, and “we’re always very thoughtful about where we open locations,” said Alison Abraham, Kilwins marketing coordinator. Because each store is independently owned, she said, “customers get a local store feel.”
The Richmond store’s owners, Valerie and Derek Poh, are no strangers to the Carytown scene. Derek Poh’s grandfather started Carey Burke Carpets in the late 1970s. It continued for many years under his mother, Karen Burke Poh. Valerie Poh said Kilwins officials approached her father-in-law about putting a location in the former carpet store, and she and her husband jumped at the chance to take over another family business there.
“We’re so excited about it; we love Carytown [and] we love the history,” Poh said, adding that she and her sister, who’ll take over as manager, visited the Kilwins flagship facility in Michigan for training. She said she was impressed by not only the quality of the ice creams, chocolates and more, but also the dedication to each employee and franchisee.
“If feels like a very family-oriented business,” she said. “They care a lot of about their franchisees and their products.”
Many of those products, by the way, will be made in the store. Caramel is made on-site, for example, and then used for caramel apples. The company’s heritage chocolate is made in Michigan, but blocks of it are sent to local stores, where it’s melted and used for drizzling over ice cream, dipping cookies, and more.
Kilwins is a good fit for Richmond — it’s one-stop shopping for all sorts of confectionery items, Valerie Poh said.
“What we’re striving for is really that experience” of a friendly, family-owned store, she said, one that happens to sell everyone’s favorite summer treat. And as someone who’s personally taste-tested the merchandise — as have her three children — “it’s some good stuff,” she said.