Most Singaporeans have fond memories of Island Creamery.
Many hours were spent at the chain’s old Serene Centre outlet after school, where students from neighbouring educational institutes would congregate.
When Island Creamery announced that it was moving its Serene Centre store back in 2018, it caused quite an uproar, with many netizens calling it the “end of an era”.
The ice cream parlour also made a call for customers to collect their photos from the store’s famous photo wall.
The “thousands of photos” on the wall had served as a testimonial to the number of people who walked through its doors and enjoyed its ice cream.
The Man Behind The Ice Cream
The self-proclaimed “ice-cream man” behind the brand is Stanley Kwok, who founded the chain in 2003, almost 18 years ago.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, he shared that he attended university in California, and always enjoyed his visits to the local ice cream parlour there.
The entrepreneur has a diverse background in various industries and dabbled in shipping, consumer goods and industrial equipment to name a few.
He was also involved in a number of startups, so starting his own business “came naturally” for him. During a break in employment, he had the idea of starting his own ice cream store in Singapore.
“There were no premium quality artisanal ice cream places then that featured local flavours,” he reasoned.
Stanley is now running Island Creamery with his son and Operations Manager David Kwok, who is representing the second-generation of the family business.
While David manages the operational side of the cafe, Stanley handles the production of ice-cream.
Pioneering Artisanal Ice Cream With Uniquely Singaporean Flavours
Stanley’s goal for Island Creamery is to “establish a brand featuring local flavours”, and so the team’s effort has always been geared towards incorporating Singaporean flavours into their ice cream.
“We are very fortunate here in Singapore where the variety of local desserts is very diverse, from Chinese to Malay to Indian and some fusion too,” said Stanley.
In a separate interview with The Urban Wire, Stanley shared that some Island Creamery customers are “surprised by how close [the local ice cream flavours] tasted compared to the original”.
Indeed, the ice cream parlour has made a name for itself as the producer of unique, locally-inspired ice cream flavours, and some of the brand’s flavours have become rather iconic.
Its signature flavours include Teh Tarik, a take on the popular “pulled” milk tea beverage found throughout Singapore, and Pulut Hitam, a traditional glutinous rice dessert.
Other notable flavours such as Tiger Sorbet, Pineapple Tart and Horlicks, which all make for a very quintessential Singaporean experience.
In fact, Island Creamery owns the trademarks “Teh Tarik” and “Singapore Sling” in the category of frozen desserts.
Every morning, Island Creamery produces its own freshly made ice cream on its premises, using quality ingredients and time honoured methods .
Some of the ice creams’ ingredients are prepared in-house as well. For example, to replicate the flavour of Teh Tarik, Island Creamery does not rely on tea powder.
Instead, the tea is steeped personally to extract the rich flavours.
Besides its signature ice cream, Island Creamery also serves up a delectable selection of other sweet treats.
These include the indulgent Mudpie, Baked Alaska, and classics like brownies and apple pie.
Evolving With The Times
Despite its success, Island Creamery was inevitably affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The brand has had to quickly adapt to the changing business environment, and shuttered some of their stores.
According to HungryGoWhere, the chain previously had at least eight outlets islandwide, ranging from more central locations like Great World City, to Katong in the East.
Now there are two stores left in Singapore — a flagship store at King’s Arcade, and an outlet in ION Orchard.
According to Stanley, Island Creamery also had a multi-store franchise operation in Indonesia for “quite a number of years”, which unfortunately closed down due to the pandemic.
Despite these developments, the father and son duo are still optimistic about the brand’s future.
“Covid-19 has created an opportunity for us to pivot to new ways of doing business, such a deliveries and online sales,” said Stanley.
As the family business gradually eases into its second generation, fans of the brand can expect a greater emphasis on online presence and distribution.
Despite heavy competition from other trendy ice cream stores popping up all over the island, Island Creamery has managed to build a fanbase over the past two decades.
“We have established a legacy brand that is well recognised,” said Stanley.
Featured Image Credit: Island Creamery and SilverKris