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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Local coffee, ice cream shop flourishes through effects in Allendale community

GVL | Trenton Strada

In 2021, Allendale, Michigan residents Shelley and David Anderson purchased Get The Scoop, a local ice cream business and began renovations and a rebranding early that year. Since then, the business has grown to be an accessible local business named Affogato’s. 

Affogato’s, in its current form, is a year-round coffee and ice cream shop located between eight and ten minutes from the Grand Valley State University campus, providing unique offerings for the GVSU community.

The Andersons’ journey to developing the business began as a project for the couple while their schedules were changing.

“We considered buying it (Get The Scoop) because David’s a pilot and he wasn’t flying a lot, so he wanted to have something to do when he wasn’t flying,” Shelley Anderson said. “Well, it kinda ended up turning into a lot more than that.”

While the business was initially just an ice cream shop, the couple added coffee to the menu a year after opening. This addition aimed to set the business apart from the many big businesses that offer ice cream around Allendale. The coffee and ice cream hybrid shop has proved to be a major draw for ice cream lovers and fans of authentic coffee shop environments.

When the couple first decided to rename their combination coffee and ice cream shop, they said the name “Affogato’s” seemed to fit perfectly. A popular treat from Italy, an Affogato is a scoop of ice cream or gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it.

“It (adding coffee to the menu) was a slow start, but I think that was more due to the fact that it had been an ice cream shop, and no one was used to seeing it open during the winter. We started a new business with the coffee bit,” said Anderson. “Since we were adding coffee, we were kickin’ around the idea of should-we-change, should-we-not and we came up with the Affogato’s.”

A few years after the rebrand and reopening of Affogato’s with her husband, Shelley Anderson is now running the shop on her own. Her husband is back to working full time as a Medjet medevac pilot, a career he is experienced in after serving as a military medevac pilot in the U.S. Army. 

Anderson said there are challenges to owning the business but the team makes the work easier.

“It’s definitely been a learning curve. I’ve just learned to have grace with myself and learned that it always comes home with you, just as far as scheduling and always trying to think of what we can do to improve or if there’s other things we can do or add,” said Anderson. “We have a great team, we’ve been so blessed to find great people that have basically come to us.”

Anderson said supporting her staff helps to create a positive working environment.

“Everybody has different personalities and needs different encouragement or to let them know they’re doing a good job,” said Anderson. “That’s been a huge thing I’ve had to learn, is to be able to recognize and give each employee the accolades in the way that they need it.”

Given Affogato’s proximity to the university, many of Affogato’s patrons, as well as many of their employees, are GVSU students.

“We have a lot of Grand Valley students that have been baristas for us. The only drawback of that is that with college students, there’s a big turnover,” said Anderson. “It was very hard for me the first year, because we’ve never owned a business before. But, it was also hard for me because I had girls I loved (that) became part of our family and then they (were) done.”

Many locals and GVSU students appreciate the ability to have an ice cream experience at a local business rather than a chain restaurant.

“The reason I like Affogatos is because I could order specialty coffee and ice cream. I was able to try something new and support a small local business at the same time,” said Georgia Barber, a GVSU alumna.

Anderson said that both the GVSU and Allendale communities have been one of the primary reasons for Affogato’s success in the almost-four years that they have been open.

“Allendale likes to support their community and their small businesses, so that’s impacted us a lot,” said Anderson. “We are the only sit-down, true coffee shop. We wanted to create an atmosphere where people felt like home, very comfortable and warm and inviting to be able to come in and sit down and meet with friends.” 

Anderson said the support from the Allendale community has been immeasurable and special to her.

“When you have a coffee shop, it creates this little community, and I had no idea that there were so many good people in Allendale,” said Anderson. “We’re just very thankful that the communities are supporting us and loving our coffee.”

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