Sung’s Treats Slings Cold Sweets

The online ice cream shop has customizable flavors specifically for your palette.
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JULY 2024

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SUNG'S TREATS

Nearly two years ago, Stephen Sung began to reconsider his path in life. He was working 10- to 12-hour days as an operations director at a local pharmaceutical company and within an 18-month period, both of his parents died. “I took those two big events of working crazy hours and my parents passing away to do something different before my time has expired on this planet,” he says.

His solution? Make ice cream.

“Every time I get ice cream there’s always excitement, and you’re waiting for that special delicious treat you’re going to get,” he explains. “I wanted to do something that was kind of fun, something that people enjoyed.”

That enjoyment comes in the form of Sung’s Treats, his online ice cream shop, which opened last March. Based in Liberty Township, Sung sells the ice cream at The Market @ Oakley Kitchen, Liberty Farm Market Co-Op, and occasionally offers samples and pints at farmers’ markets. He also ships the ice cream nationwide.

With no culinary background, he relied on his days in engineering to help him create the ice cream. “I think it helped being an engineer to understand what goes into ice cream and to understand how things kind of interact together,” he says. “It’s a weird development, but here I am about a year into it now.”

Sung says starting the business wasn’t easy, and he wasn’t sure what he needed to do. It took him months to get a dairy license. “It was a slow process of learning, asking around, and talking to places,” he adds.

Ironically, he’s lactose intolerant. But for his passionfruit ice cream, which he can’t make dairy-free, he’ll take medication.  “My family test tastes all of the ice cream,” he says. “I’ll eat maybe two or three spoonfuls and then that’s about all I can really tolerate before issues.”

Sung’s ability to generate custom creations based on a customer’s preferences— they choose the flavor and add items like nuts, candy, and fruit—sets him apart.

JULY 2024“I needed to do something different from what the other people do,” he explains. “A lot of places will have the standard flavors. They’ll do a summer release, like peach, or pistachio, and then they won’t make it anymore until next year. But I wanted people to have that experience of pumpkin spice ice cream in March.”

He’s been experimenting with more unusual flavors like ube (purple yam from the Philippines), banana, and passionfruit combined with dragon fruit but also offers “the standards,” such as chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry. Unlike store-bought ice cream, Sung sticks to “Ohio Proud” dairy products, only using a handful of ingredients with no gums or stabilizers.

“Gums sometimes affect people’s digestive system, so they’ll feel bloated,” he explains. “I wanted to do something more natural. In the old days when ice cream was made, it didn’t have a very long shelf life. It would be at the local soda shop, and you would buy it and eat it. It tasted great.”

When concocting custom flavors for customers, he considers dietary restrictions like paleo and AIP (autoimmune protocol) diets, which eliminates refined sugars, grains, and dairy.

“I don’t think a lot of other ice cream places would figure this out, because you’re probably going to sell maybe a couple pints at most,” he says. “But it makes somebody happy. I’m excited to try to play around and find something good as an offset for sugar. It’s kind of challenging but that’s what I do.”

To place a custom order, Sung suggests customers email him their preferences (info@sungstreats.com) and give him a couple of weeks to formulate the flavor. Then, he’ll arrange to have them pick up their pints at Oakley Kitchen or Liberty Farm Market, or he’ll deliver them.

As for the future, Sung says he doesn’t want to be as big as Jeni’s Splendid or run a seasonal scoop shop, but he does want his ice cream and namesake to live on.

“I would love to have something for my kids,” he says. “I think that’s ultimately what I’d like to do. If I could grow and build this business and then be able to pass it on to them, I think that would be something that would fulfill me.”

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