Michelle Pulling on launching The Silver Lining Creamery in Fargo

Experienced ice-cream-and-coffee entrepreneur Michelle Pulling just expanded her successful Rapid City business, The Silver Lining Creamery, into Fargo. The new location has been open for roughly two months.

“We specialize in fun and unique flavors as well as your tried and true classic flavors,” Pulling said.

The Silver Lining Creamery serves up 14 percent butter fat ice cream. That’s ice cream lingo for “high quality.”

The differences made by the butter fat content in Silver Lining’s ice cream is part flavor and part texture. Pulling says the ice cream has truer flavors with more butter fat, and customers will often mistake the creamery’s ice cream for gelato because of its smoothness.

Ice cream with higher butter fat content also tends to make it to your cone fresher because it can’t be kept as long. (There is, however, a limit to the butter fat benefit—too much and the ice cream will start to taste off, per Pulling.)

“We make ice cream every day,” Pulling said.

Pulling’s first business was a coffee shop in Rapid City, Alternative Fuel Coffee House. The Silver Lining Creamery’s story starts next door.

To be specific, the space next to Alternative Fuel opened up, and although Pulling and her family weren’t interested in occupying it at first, it was pointed out that if they didn’t want the space, it couldn’t be guaranteed that what eventually went into it wouldn’t be in competition with Alternative Fuel.

Pulling recalls she and her staff had already been asked, previously, what other kind of business they thought downtown Rapid City was lacking.

“We were like, ‘Oh, it needs ice cream,'” Pulling said.

So Pulling shipped herself off to “ice cream school”: the Frozen Dessert Institute in St. Louis, which she likened to a brand-nonspecific version of the kind of franchise classes fast-food places like McDonald’s offer to owners of their stores, one geared specially toward the ownership and operation of ice cream parlors, gelato shops, and other hawkers of sub-zero sweetness. The Silver Lining Creamery’s Rapid City location opened four and a half years ago.

Originally, Pulling was looking to expand Silver Lining Creamery into Sioux Falls; however, a lease they’d negotiated in Sioux Falls ended up falling through. Then it was suggested they look into downtown Fargo.

Pulling moved to Fargo to launch the new location, and her son Ian is maintaining the with Rapid City location and Alternative Fuel. She says learning the Fargo market is the company’s next challenge.

People warned Pulling that business might be slow opening a downtown business in summer, because summer is lake season, but she doesn’t believe that’s been as much of a problem as it was cracked up to be.

“Holy buckets, if this is slow, I can’t imagine what the rest of the year is going to be like,” Pulling said.

Of course, in ice cream, there can also be slowdowns in winter. Pulling plans to cope with these through fun events—like “pajama runs,” where coming into the shops in you PJs could win you a free waffle cone—as well as through wholesaling. After all, even though you might not want to walk around downtown Fargo toting a cone when there’s a wind chill, but Netflix-and-chilling indoors will still go well with a pint.

Pulling has been pleased with the positive reception Silver Lining has gotten in Fargo, as well as with the general “niceness” she’s encountered since moving, but she does admit to missing The Silver Lining’s Rapid City neighbor, Alternative Fuel.

“Here I don’t have free coffee,” she said.

Silver Lining Creamery is located in the old Metro Drug building at Second and Broadway in Fargo. For more information on Silver Lining Creamery, visit its website, silverliningcreamery.com, or visit its page on Facebook.