NAMPA, Idaho — The love of all things ice cream started early for local entrepreneur Chad Hartley.
"Me and my wife have always loved ice cream, we've been dessert people. When we were first married, whenever we went on vacation we'd always hit up the local ice cream shop."
But it was a trip overseas that really sealed the deal on the couple's fondness for the frozen dessert, and inspired them to give it a go themselves.
Hartley tells us, "We had traveled to Italy and explored a lot of the gelato shops there, we came back and it was just one of those things like okay, it's time to start our own."
Hartley got to work, brainstorming flavor ideas and finding a location, and in the spring of 2018, Stella's Ice Cream opened its doors in downtown Nampa, with the hope of being a hang-out for the local community.
"We do want to have the feel of a traditional ice cream shop with a little bit of flair and funkiness and fun in the new creative flavors that we come up with," says Hartley.
And the flavors aren't just creative, they're prolific, with new ones being dreamed up and then hand-crafted by the Stella's team about as quickly as you can say 'mint chip.'
"We have new flavors literally every day and sometimes multiple times throughout the day," Hartley says.
The flavors range from traditional, like strawberry and cookies and cream, to downright funky, like Red Bull and even a (short-lived) guacamole-flavored scoop.
Along with their ice cream, which includes several vegan-friendly options, Stella's has also become famous for its homemade, fresh-baked brownies and waffle cones, along with cookies that pay homage to Hartley's own mom.
"We use her cookie recipe on all of our chocolate chip cookies," Hartley told us.
The sweet success of Stella's in Nampa led to the opening of a second location in Eagle earlier this year, with another Stella's set to open in downtown Boise in spring of 2020.
Hartley says he's been thrilled by the warm welcome they've had from the Treasure Valley and can't wait to keep things "chill" in the Gem State for years to come.
"Ice cream is crazy in Idaho! I can't believe how much ice cream is available, it's really a good thing," Hartley adds.