The famous flavor infusions of huckleberries, Flathead cherries and local ciders and breweries that Sweet Peaks Ice Cream has been perfecting for the last decade will continue their southern expansion at a new location in Texas this year.
While Sweet Peaks shops have sprouted up across western Montana, Idaho and Washington since 2010, owners Sam Dauenhauer and Marissa Keenan jumped at the opportunity to expand to Dallas.
“We’ve always thought about expanding down the Rocky Mountains,” Keenan said. “This just means we’re jumping all the way south.”
Keenan and Dauenhauer intend to fill in gaps across the Rockies with more ice cream shops while working their way back home to Montana and expanding their mountain-inspired flavors in the future.
Similar to Montana’s signature flavors, Keenan plans to use Texas-inspired flavors in their Dallas location, and she sees an opportunity to experiment with the region’s local pecans and peaches.
“We’re excited to get into that community and dig into what the place has to offer,” Keenan said. “Everything becomes an ice cream inspiration.”
While every Sweet Peaks location offers a similar product, Keenan says each individual store creates its own community connection resulting in unique storefronts.
“When there’s a story behind the flavor, that absolutely brings people in to really digging into what that flavor is,” Keenan said. “That’s the thing that keeps us really enthusiastic as well.”
Keenan says Sweet Peaks’ huckleberry ice cream remains a favorite in the Flathead and Montana.
“Huckleberries are the thing that locals love because it’s a local flavor, and at the same time, tourists love it because they don’t know what a huckleberry is,” Keenan said.
Seasonal rotations allow Keenan and Dauenhauer to stay creative with their flavors. While they sell the standard flavors like chocolate and vanilla, Keenan says the rotating flavors never get stale because they showcase whatever is in season.
Sweet Peaks’ locations stay fresh too. Aside from the Texas expansion, there are already locations in Whitefish, Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman and Spokane, with a new Bigfork shop in the works this summer.
Keenan says Sweat Peaks has seen steady growth and expansion in the last decade. Of the nine years the business has been operating, there have only been three where a new shop hasn’t opened. The owners have prioritized maintaining community relationships and product quality.
“The most important thing is we’re able to maintain quality and the feeling of a place that really nestles into a community,” Keenan said.
To celebrate Sweet Peaks’ 10th birthday in April, Keenan and Dauenhauer are planning parties in each store by bringing back throwback flavors from the last decade, and they hope to incorporate some fun Texas influence into their new flavors.
“It’s highlighting where we’ve been and where we’re going,” Keenan said.
Sweet Peaks is located at 419 E. 3rd Street in Whitefish and 343 S. Main Street in Kalispell.