MISSOULA — A Missoula favorite is expanding in its 25th year of business.
Big Dipper Ice Cream is set to open its second Missoula location on Friday morning. It also marks the fourth location in the state with one in Helena and Billings, as well.
The new spot is located off of Brooks Street, on Mary Avenue, in the Southgate area. The ice cream shop also shares a wall with another Missoula favorite that recently expanded in the Dram Shop tap house. There's nothing set in stone but there's already some talk of collaboration.
Not only Dram and Big Dipper are flocking to this area, with restaurants like Bridge Pizza, Notorious P.I.G., and Five on Black all expanding their business to the area as well.
"I think the is the beginning of a really awesome community forming over here," said general manager, Jordan Cox.
Big Dipper's current spot in Missoula is known for its walk-up window service and, of course, the long lines in the summer. The new location is aiming to spread out some of the business while providing more seating and parking for customers.
"Especially in the winter, when it's below zero and you're waiting outside," said Cox. "Now you have a place to come get a warm, sweet treat."
However, with more seating, comes more management and precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of planning has gone into this, social distancing will be available, limited seating," said Cox. "All of our staff will be wearing masks and we will perform a wellness check before their shift. We are taking all the precautions necessary so that you guys, the community, can feel comfortable coming in. We also have a great patio that you can step outside and enjoy a little more distance."
Opening day also happens to fall on June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth. Big Dipper will be donating a dollar from each scoop sold on Friday to EmpowerMT, an organization that fights for a more just and inclusive society.