Danielle Fuhrmann got into the ice cream business by accident – literally. About ten years ago, she hit Gary Miller’s vintage car (a minor fender-bender) and offered to work for him to pay for the damages. Miller’s car was repaired and Fuhrmann gained a mentor. At the time, Miller was still operating Rock Hill Creamery, a business that he had started in 1996 using milk supplied from his family’s farm in Berkeley County. Over the years, Miller had multiple storefront locations for the ice cream shop and also was a fixture at fairs and events in the Eastern Panhandle. Eventually it was just the outdoor events until he retired and closed the business in 2016.
Fuhrmann worked with Miller for a few years, graduated from Shepherd University with a degree in business marketing and a minor in computer science, and thought she would launch into an office-based career. She picked up work at the Blue Moon Cafe in the kitchen and realized that she preferred the energy of food service over office life. By 2019, she was ready to try something different and was remembering the fun she had working in the ice cream business. She recalls, “I was thinking I should call Gary and see if he would let me give it a try and the next day I bump into him at Lowes. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. We talked and we pretty quickly agreed that it was a good idea.”
“My first plan was to restart with events. Gary helped me build a trailer and then I started looking for a place to make the ice cream. I was still working at the restaurant and there wasn’t a real sense of urgency to start this, and then the pandemic hit,” she remembered. “So I kept on thinking and then found out that this space on German Street was available. This is where Pressed Flour was and before that it’s where Maria’s Tacos got started. It’s the right size and has the space upstairs where I can make the ice cream.”
“I’m using the recipes I got from Gary,” says Fuhrmann. “Keeping it simple makes for good ice cream and because I make it right here each week I don’t need to add preservatives. Gary once made 80 batches a week – I’m making just a fraction of that, so I know I have lots of room to grow. It’s not a complex process but you can’t leave it alone. You watch it freeze and you watch it soften, to get the right texture. The fun is in playing with the flavors. I’ll go to bed thinking about what order to mix the next day so I can keep the production going.”
Fuhrmann noted, “I sold out on my first open weekend. That was flattering, but as a business I want to be able to keep my customers happy. Many customers come for a specific flavor and I don’t want to disappoint them. Everyone who gets ice cream is happy – it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Rock Hill Creamery is located at 111 West German St, Shepherdstown WV. Current hours are Wed-Thu, noon – 8 pm, Fri & Sat, noon – 9 pm, Sun, noon – 8 pm.
Find the Creamery on Facebook at @RockHillIceCream and follow them on Instragram at Instagram.com/RockHillCreamery. Contact the Creamery by email at RockHillCreamery@gmail.com or by phone at 304-707-8765.By Staff Contributor