Sophia Landis, a.k.a Sofie, is the woman behind the gelato at Sofie’s Scoops. Landis and her partner, Christopher Proctor, opened for business last fall in downtown Olympia’s 222 Market. Both Sofie and Chris have an extensive background in the culinary world, and after working in the service industry for many years, Sofie decided it was time to make a change and go back to school. “I returned to school with a goal to get my degree and write a business plan before I turned 30,” she said. She enrolled at The Evergreen State College and set her plan into action.
Sofie wrote several business plans during her time at Evergreen. She and Chris had originally planned to open a food truck. One evening, on a search to satisfy her sweet tooth, Sofie was struck by the lack of ice cream parlors available to meet her needs. “It was 5:00 p.m. in the middle of the week, and I should have been able to find a decent scoop of ice cream,” she recalled. Alas, that evening she was relegated to the grocer for a pint. Out of her frustration, the inspiration for Sofie’s Scoops was born.
By the age of 30, she had reached her goal and finished school with a new business plan in hand. At that time, Sofie was working as a server at Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen. It was there she met Sandy Hall and Lela Cross, owners of Dillinger’s, who would be instrumental in the opening of Sofie’s Scoops. Sandy was a constant source of encouragement for Sofie. She urged her to share her business idea with Lela, who was working on a new project downtown that involved a gelato shop. That project was the 222 Market, which Lela co-created with owners, Gray and Joy Graham.
On a leap of faith, Landis shared her plans with Lela. She was a little nervous, but the opportunity seemed impossible to pass up. A few weeks later, as they walked through the old accounting firm that is now the 222 Market, Lela had only two questions for Sofie: “Can you make gelato?” and “Do you want to stay in Olympia for five years?” Sofie and Chris discussed the whirlwind of possibilities this afforded them and over Christmas with their family, decided to go for it.
The duo quickly got to work. They had not made gelato before and had a lot of learning to do. They knew that sourcing as many local and organic ingredients as possible was their first priority. Everything is made from start to finish behind the counter at Sofie’s Scoops, even pasteurizing their own milk! The milk arrives raw from Tunawerth Creamery, a local farm in Tenino. They have a special room for the pasteurization tanks. Chris walked me through the steps in the mini science lab. “The process takes a little over two hours,” he explained.
Once the base is created, additional ingredients are added when the gelato is churned. Sofie’s gelato machine, the only one of its kind in Washington State, was imported from Italy, and is the oldest, most traditional way to churn gelato.. The machine churns the gelato in just eight minutes. Batches of gelato are transferred directly from the machine to the case to be sold. This enables Sofie’s to constantly serve a fresh product. The gelato case holds 12 flavors that rotate daily, including sugar-free and organic coconut milk-based vegan options.
Sofie’s Scoops also offers beverages from their soda bar. They make their own syrups for Italian sodas and source other local beverages on the additional taps. Olympia Coffee cold brew can be enjoyed alone or over gelato for an affogato. Kombucha is made by their neighboring business, The Broth Bar. Sofie’s other partners include Blissful Chocolates, Pantry, Encore Teas, Salt Fire & Time and Crowsfeet Farmstead.
Up next for Sofie’s Scoops is the addition of a gelato tricycle. This trike, equipped with a freezer box, will be seen about town and used for special events. Sofie’s Scoops’ gelato can also be ordered for parties, special occasions, or simply for the sweet tooth that is craving a certain flavor. Orders should be placed at least a few days in advance and require a minimum of two quarts.
Sofie and Chris run the shop themselves and are sure to greet you with a smile. Swing by the 222 Market and say hello while treating yourself. You deserve it! With warm weather around the corner, you can be sure to find me at Sofie’s enjoying a scoop. Or two.
222 Capitol Way N, Suite 116
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.