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Scoop DeVille is a popular ice cream parlor located off Rittenhouse Square with a unique decor and a variety of flavors and concoctions of ice cream. Owner Matt Shore scoops one of the many choices at the famous shop. [Shannon Jensen/The Daily Pennsy

Whenever a Scoop DeVille employee spots a first-timer staring drop-jawed at the overwhelming chalkboard menu, he rings a bell behind the counter, and the more experienced regulars in the store have themselves a good laugh. They remember. "There's no real limit to what flavor we can create for anybody,"says Matt Shore, the store's co-owner. From just 12 original flavors, there are hundreds of combinations that can be created. Apple Pie a la Mode and Pumpkin Pie are two of the most popular of Scoop DeVille's concoctions. "And then people just get crazy!" Shore says. The independent ice cream shop is a Rittenhouse Square staple tucked inside Maron Chocolates, a candy store that Shore and his mother also own. The candy store has been at various locations in Philadelphia since 1850. Scoop DeVille was established in 1987, and the Shores bought both shops in 1989. Shore says that some customers come just for the ice cream and don't "realize they are walking past a candy store on the way out." He adds that the goal is "to mass market" the two stores as a single entity. The store enjoys a broad base of customers, including locals, business people and tourists. It also attracts a substantial crowd of Penn students -- both as customers and employees. "I've been coming [to Scoop DeVille] since the first time someone mentioned it to me," College senior Adrienne Mishkin says, as she orders a sorbet to go. "I've dragged so many people here." "Look how accommodating they are," she says. "They are putting a ribbon on my sorbet." "I'm literally obsessed with them," College senior Sarah Thompson says. "It just has a concept that I've never seen before.... You never have to get the same thing twice." "It's my goal to make it everyone's favorite ice cream store in Philly," Thompson exclaims. "It's always a happy place to be." Once, a group of 50 Penn sorority girls took over the store on a Sunday evening. "So you know we can have parties," Shore says with a smile. Shore says that he and his mother not only get to know their clients and employees on a personal basis but are also familiar with their favorite orders. One woman regularly stops at the shop on her way home from work. "It's part of her diet program," Shore says. "Granted, it's a large with Oreos." The store's Rittenhouse Square location is currently its only one, but Shore is considering opening another store in the future. Ideally, if one of Scoop DeVille's neighbors on 18th Street were to leave, Shore would move into another building for more space, he says. For now, however, Shore is working on expanding his offerings, until he can expand his store physically. He has entered the world of specialty products, a venture he is combining with his operation of the two stores. Shore has begun to design logos for his customers' own businesses, putting them on T-shirts, mugs, pens and other products. What Shore likes about this new business is that it's a more active process -- instead of waiting for customers to come to him, he goes to his customers. "With this stuff, a client sends me the artwork," Shore says. "I'm still doing the graphics work." Meanwhile, he continues to make his mark on the ice cream front. Scoop DeVille has won a plethora of first place awards, including Best Dessert from 34th Street Magazine in 2002. The shop was also awarded second place in the Best of City Search's 2002 audience pick for the city's Best Ice Cream, "but I think it was rigged," Shore claims, explaining how City Search is run by and, and Ben and Jerry's have a stake in Ticketmaster.

"That's my hidden theory," he says, smiling. • Scoop DeVille isn't your typical ice cream shop, so it's fitting that running it isn't a typical job, either. Imagine that instead of a cubicle, your office has pink walls with hippie flowers on them. Instead of answering to a grumpy, demanding boss, you make executive decisions for your own business and answer only to your mother. Instead of a monotonous 9-to-5 desk job, your day begins at 10 a.m. -- if you feel like going in at that time. That's exactly what Shore's position entails. Shore studied entrepreneurship at the University of Miami and later graduated from Temple University's Tyler School of Art with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. After college, Shore worked as an assistant art director for a small design firm. He was hired to help the company build and develop its Internet capabilities, "but it never actually panned out," he says. Most of his job entailed print work, and after an ungratifying year and a half with the company, he fell back on Scoop DeVille, which his family had just bought. "There were days in my old job when I would wake up and not want to go to work," Shore remembers. "Here, there's always something new, something different. You're going to have some personal interaction with someone, make someone's day a little better." "I'm being creative," he says, "but in a different avenue." Still, as Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates," and running a family business presents its fair share of challenges. The most difficult part of running the store? "Working with my mom every day," Shore says without missing a beat. "This is 600 square feet. We share a desk. It's not a big desk." "But we have a great relationship," he adds definitively. So what is Shore's favorite part? "I'd have to say the customer interaction, being in an environment like this," he replies. "Whenever [customers] come in here, they brighten up.... Usually, people come in to buy something to give to someone for celebratory reasons. It's going to put you in a good mood.... It's a pick-me-up."

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