In response to the challenging times that we are experiencing together regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to give props to some stellar local businesses who are stepping up to serve our great community.
Located at 195 Wellington Street in Bracebridge, the newly opened Ice Cream & Bean has already become a huge hit with locals and visitors alike. Owned and Operated by Cindy, Ice Cream & Bean specializes in artisan ice cream from Belly (also located in Muskoka!), Genuine Tea and freshly roasted Balzac’s Coffee. Offering a wide variety of flavours and delights, Ice Cream & Bean strives to offer the best locally sourced products & ingredients and the best service in Muskoka. They even have an Espresso machine that was imported directly from Italy!
Opening a business at any time can be a daunting task, but opening during a global pandemic brings with it several additional challenges and Ice Cream & Bean stepped up to face them head-on. Without being able to seat guests inside, they built a patio for patrons to enjoy their frozen treats and hot beverages outside. They also enforced social distancing with floor signage as well as made hand sanitizer and masks available to visitors. The staff wore masks themselves and the team continued to practice a high level of sanitizing and cleaning routines to ensure patrons a safe and enjoyable experience.
Despite the challenges, Ice Cream & Bean remains focused on growing their menu and further connecting with the local community. They told us that they are close to acquiring their liquor license, which will bring with it several new specialty coffee options and frozen treats. They plan to install some propane heaters outside allowing for their patio to remain open further into the Fall. And they told us that they’re interested in exploring having live music at the shop when it is safe to do so.
We think it’s fantastic that Ice Cream & Bean was able to endure the challenges presented by Covid-19 and has been able to offer these delicious, high quality products to our community. We know times are tough, but sipping a hot coffee or enjoying some fresh, yummy ice cream can certainly brighten someone’s day and for that we are grateful to have Ice Cream & Bean in our community. Keep up the great work guys!
Normally this time of year we’d be counting down the days until cottage season but in the midst of everything that is happening we continue to encourage everyone to stay home and stay comfy so that hopefully we can enjoy summer in Muskoka.
With that in mind, here are a few of things we miss and look forward to resuming when all of this has passed.
1. Sunrises on the Dock with a Hot Beverage
You hear the call of a pair of loons echoing over the still water and squint your eyes as that first beam of sunlight breaks the horizon. You picked up some fresh coffee beans from Oliver’s on the way to the cottage, so you are now sitting comfortably in your Muskoka chair, holding your Bear Wear mug and it is like time has stopped. You can hear the wind passing through the leaves, the birds springing to life and the gentle waves as they hit against the dock. Nothing will ever replace moments like these.
2. Live Music Concerts
Hunter’s Bay Radio in Huntsville is a great example of a local business adapting to the times to give local artists a platform to be seen and heard while we all hang out at home. And as much as we have been loving watching their virtual concerts, there are few experiences in life like being in the crowd at a live show for one of your favourite bands or artists. The shared energy of the fans around you, the music as it hits you and that indescribable magic that happens during that exchange is truly something special. Whether you are preparing to take in a show at the Kee to Bala or maybe heading south for the next Boots & Hearts, Muskoka Bear Wear always has your back all the way!
3. Lunch Dates
Zoom chats and FaceTime have been a great alternative fill-in for meeting up with your besties to catch up, but it will never replace huddling around the table with your squad – say at Main Street Delicatessen – and serving up the tea on all the things going on in our lives. Who unfollowed who on Instagram? Did you see what your fave celebrity wore on the red-carpet last night? Did they really leave your message on ‘read’ all day? Have you tried the latest Tik Tok challenge? We can’t wait for things to return to normal so we can all pile into our favourite restaurants and dish.
We know times are tough, but we also know these times will pass and we will be jumping in the lake and roasting s’mores by the fire with all of you again soon. Just think of how much sweeter it will be and how much more we will appreciate those simpler, meaningful experiences together.
Be sure to check out this week’s #MBWShoutOuts Week 5 Round-Up for local businesses that are doing what they can through these tough times to continue to serve our awesome community.
Just remember… #StayHome #StayHealthy and #StayCozy