Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Shelley Sapp's name.
All of this, you could say, is because of graham cracker ice cream.
Shelley Sapp couldn’t find her favorite flavor anywhere near her family’s new home in Monument. They checked more than a dozen ice cream shops, even some in the Denver area.
Maybe it sounds weird, but this place didn’t feel completely like home without graham cracker ice cream. So she decided to make her own. That would turn into her wanting to open her own ice cream shop.
Graham cracker was the mother of four’s go-to choice at the family’s old neighborhood hangout in Indianapolis. The five of them would walk there to meet friends. It was the kind of place that kids would slurp up their ice cream so they could play games while the adults sat around and talked while savoring their treats.
The family left all that, and their home of 15 years, three years ago in favor of a climate with less humidity for Dustin, the patriarch, who has a rare genetic lung disorder.
In Indiana, he often got bronchitis and sometimes coughed so hard he popped a lung. He rarely went anywhere without air conditioning.
Then he went to Google to search something: “Best places to live with lung issues.”
Colorado came up and it was the closest result, geographically, to where Shelley and Dustin grew up and have family in Louisville, Ky.
“We thought, ‘Let’s try it for a year,’” Shelley Sapp said.
Soon, they were flying to Colorado.
“It’s almost like a switch was flipped when we got off the airplane,” she said. “He could breathe so much better. It was like, ‘We need to stay here forever.’”
Monument easily started to feel like home, except for the issue of a lack of graham cracker ice cream.
After Sapp bought an ice cream maker, fixing that was her first order of business.
“I finally landed on a recipe that was pretty close,” Sapp said. “Our friends were like, ‘This is pretty good stuff.’”
The more she made, the stuff tasted like “something we’d be proud to put our name on.”
And Sapp thought it was time that downtown Monument got an ice cream shop, a place for kids to go after football games or band practice and for families to hang out.
“We kind of figure every town needs their own little ice cream shop,” she said.
Not just any shop.
In November, they bought a historic house on the main strip that needed a ton of work. It still does, thanks to renovations being on hold due to the COVID-19 concerns.
Sapp says they never planned to buy a 130-year-old property that needed months of renovations.
“We fell in love with the property and see so much potential in what it could be,” Sapp said. “We see it as a fun destination.”
The house is across the street from the farmers market and right off the Santa Fe Trail.
So far, the family has removed layers of asbestos and gutted layers of flooring. It’s basically an empty shell at this point.
“Everything is actually moving forward now,” Sapp said, “After 12 weeks of not being able to do anything.”
She expects for the ice cream shop, called Lolley’s, to open in the fall.
Along the way, Sapp is sharing photos of the progress on Instagram.
“That’s because I’m a huge HGTV freak,” Sapp said. “I love watching a good before-and-after.”
This will be a good one.
The “after” will include an outdoor patio with games like lifesize Connect Four and 16 to 20 flavors of made-from-scratch ice cream.
And yes, one will be graham cracker.
Sapp says each of her kids will work at the shop and she plans to incorporate a cake recipe passed down from her grandmother into one flavor.
Even the name has a family tie. The family has decided that Dustin will be called “Pop” when he’s a grandpa. So it only makes sense for Shelley to be called “Lolley.”
“We’re jumping the gun a little bit,” she said.
With months to go before the shop’s launch, Sapp has a long to-do list that includes ordering equipment and experimenting with ice cream flavors daily. She can’t wait for people to try them.
“It looks really, really great in my head,” she said. “It’s going to be so exciting to see it come to fruition.”
In her head, she sees families hanging out there just like hers did in Indianapolis.
“Moving here was the best decision we ever made,” Sapp said.
And Lolley’s Ice Cream will make it even sweeter.