The Baked Bear, Custom Ice Cream Sandwiches comes to Reno and Sparks | nnbw.com

The Baked Bear, Custom Ice Cream Sandwiches comes to Reno and Sparks

Reno and Sparks are now a little bit sweeter.

Within the past few months, local business owner Justin Lippold has opened two franchises of The Baked Bear, Custom Ice Cream Sandwiches in the Reno-Sparks area. The Baked Bear allows customers to create custom ice cream sandwiches from their menu of their original-recipe ice cream and a variety of cookies that are baked fresh in the store twice a day.

Lippold is also the owner of EZ AIR Indoor Trampoline Park and Laser Tag Arena in south Reno. He moved to Reno about five years ago to open the trampoline park. Now that the business has been operating smoothly for several years, Lippold began looking for a new business venture in the Reno-Sparks area.

"I was looking for something fun and interesting to do," Lippold said. "I decided that The Baked Bear meshed most with my ideas."

The 1,300-square-foot Sparks location at 1495 E. Prater Way, Suite 123 opened in September 2016 and the 1,900-square-foot Reno location at 6405 S. Virginia opened this past December. The two stores currently employ 24 people.

This is Lippold's first time owning a franchise.

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"I thought it was the best way to go, that way I didn't have to deal with contacting vendors and where to source ice cream," Lippold said. "I figured going through a franchise would be the smart way to go about it."

He also liked that he was able to put his own twist on the shops.

"It is a really new franchise which gave me a little more input in terms of policies, design and layout than the average franchise," he said.

The Sparks store marked the 11th Baked Bear store to open in the franchise. Lippold said the business has been well received in the community.

"The response has been great," Lippold said.

One of the main challenges has been a lack of seating for customers as there are only a few tables in the Sparks location.

"Honestly, I was never expecting it to be that busy," he said.

He explained that when people go to ice cream shops they typically get their ice cream and leave. However, he is seeing The Baked Bear stores becoming more of a social gathering spot. In the new Reno location, he added 50 percent more seating to better accommodate the customers.

The Baked Bear also provides catering for events and even weddings.

"Everyone is trying to find something different than just the normal cake," he said.

The stores also offer catering for businesses. Lippold said that they already provided catering services for businesses such as Jet.com, a warehouse and distribution center located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, and more. Since the November and December months are historically the slowest months for the franchise, Lippold said they have been focusing on promoting their careering services.

"This slow time for us allows us to go out and meet the community and meet some of the businesses and tell about (us)," he said.

Lippold said he enjoys creating businesses that are fun and entertaining.

"If I can open a bunch of things that make people smile, I will continue to do it," Lippold said.

He is continuing to look for opportunities to open additional ice cream sandwich stores in northern Nevada. He said he is looking at the University district and northwest Reno area.

Lippold is also opening a Baked Bear location at Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe. The store is slated to open March 1.

The Reno and Sparks locations are open from noon to 10 p.m. daily.

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