Aaron Barker isn't upset with his current location at the Truck Yard. He says sales are up and it's been a banner year. He's selling plenty of frozen dairy and has even found a few ways, including flaming S'mores kits, to shore up his business during the winter months. The problem with his space, tucked into the corner of the Truck Yard, is that he's outgrown it.
That's why next month he's picking up the keys for his next Carnival Barker's location, in Oak Cliff. Barker has signed a lease in the Jefferson Tower renovation project that will also host Small Brewery, a new Cultivar location and more. He hopes to open by late March of next year and when he does, we're all going to have a lot more ice cream in our lives.
"The new space is four times as big," Barker says, so he'll be moving all of his production to the new location. At the Truck Yard, he had to deal with beer deliveries, restaurant operations and other competing activities from his tiny corner. In Oak Cliff, he'll only have to deal with ice cream mechanics like milk fat, overrun and coming up with more of his trademark eccentric flavors. Customers will still have to order and eat outside, though. "I'm using 100 percent of the space for production," Barker says.
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Baker will also be able to set up a pasteurizer at the new location, which will allow him to return to his wholesale business. Barker was shut down by the state because he didn't have the pasteurization machine required for large-scale production. His ice cream should be available in Austin and Houston, and as far north as Oklahoma City, as soon as the new machine is set up.
There are more reasons for the expansion. At the Truck Yard, Barker was only allowed to sell ice cream, in an effort to protect the sales of the cheesesteak business next door and the food trucks out on the lot. But no such restriction exists at the new location. Barker says his new spot will offer chili, Frito pie and other warm savories in the winter months, when it's too cold for a triple-scoop waffle cone full of vanilla.
For all the restrictions, Barker has no interest in coughing up his spot at the Truck Yard. He has a lease through next September and plans to renew it then if he can, because the spot has been so good for sales. This means we should have at lease two locations to purchase Carnival Barker's ice cream in Dallas this summer. And if that wholesale business takes off, we could have a whole lot more.