'Nugget Scoops' ice cream shop scoops up former Morano site

by Lorraine Liu | 6/16/20 2:28pm

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by Lorraine Liu / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Following the closures of Morano Gelato and Swirl and Pearl, many were worried Hanover’s downtown would be without an ice cream shop this summer. But frozen treat lovers are in luck — in two weeks, the Nugget Scoops ice cream shop will open in the space formerly occupied by Morano Gelato on Main Street.

Nugget Scoops will be operated by the Hanover Improvement Society, a nonprofit organization that owns the former Morano space, Nugget Theaters, Storrs Pond Recreation Area and Campion Rink. The shop will serve hard ice cream produced by Kingdom Creamery of Vermont, a family farm in the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont, according to Hanover Improvement Society general manager Jeffrey Graham. Nugget Scoops will feature at least 10 different flavors of ice cream, including maple — a Kingdom Creamery specialty.

Kingdom Creamery dairy farm co-owner Leslie Michaud said that the farm is looking forward to its partnership with the Hanover Improvement Society, as it will be the first time that the farm sells its products in Hanover. 

Graham said the Hanover Improvement Society decided to venture into the ice cream market after Morano Gelato closed in May.

“We just felt that there is a need for some type of an ice cream store in town,” Graham said. “So we decided to take it upon ourselves and give it a go.”

On May 28, the Hanover Improvement Society handed out free samples at the former site of Morano Gelato to gauge interest in an ice cream shop. Participants answered survey questions about a potential ice cream shop and received free scoops of Kingdom Creamery ice cream. Graham noted that the over 400 participants expressed interest in having an ice cream shop somewhere in downtown Hanover.

“I think the one comment somebody made to me is that ice cream makes people smile, and right now we need to smile,” Graham said.

Michaud said that Kingdom Creamery’s business has been affected by the downturn in the dairy industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that she appreciates the opportunity to produce ice cream for Hanover.

“It’s going to benefit us because the way the dairy system is right now, it is very difficult unless you have a value-added product or have other businesses on the side.” Michaud said. “So we’re really glad that this partnership can be made and keep our milk flowing from the cow right to the cone.”

Economics professor and Hanover resident Bruce Sacerdote said that he can’t wait for Nugget Scoops to open.

“We’re suddenly a quintessential New England town with no ice cream shop, which is terrible,” Sacerdote said. “My whole family couldn’t be more thrilled that we’re going to get an ice cream shop shortly.”

Graham added that the Hanover Improvement Society will likely close Nugget Scoops in the winter, citing fewer ice cream purchases during the cold season. The Hanover Improvement Society will decide the length of the store’s operational season based on its business turnout this summer, he said, adding that right now it plans to stay open through summer or potentially through Thanksgiving.

Sacerdote said that he is optimistic about Nugget Scoops’ success, adding that both Hanover residents and Dartmouth students are important consumer bases that will support the ice cream store.

Graham emphasized that Nugget Scoops’ operation will follow public health guidelines once it opens. Although the details have not been ironed out yet, Graham said that he expects the store will require customers to keep a distance of six feet and wear masks inside. He added that employees will wear masks and rubber gloves.