Not a Rebirth, but a Continuation

Through tragedy, Vancouver's Ice Cream Renaissance moves forward

Store manager Max Hampton's voice chokes up when he talks about the inspiration behind his family's recent purchase of Ice Cream Renaissance, a cozy space located on a busy stretch of Main Street of Vancouver's Uptown Village. "He was a visionary for this place," he said.

The man of whom Hampton speaks is his father, Greg Hampton, who along with his mother, Kathy, bought the 8-year-old business from former owners Brandon Angelo and Jason Seymour four months ago. Then, not long afterward, tragedy struck.

On the night of Aug. 4, Greg Hampton, 52, having been called to the scene of his wife's flat tire on the right shoulder of the Interstate 5 off ramp onto Main Street in Vancouver, was struck and killed by a driver who drifted over the fog line.

Weeks later, though life for the Hampton family has hardly returned to normal, business at their small ice cream shop continued much as before.

Last Thursday afternoon, all but two Renaissance art-inspired tables at the store were filled with customers partaking in the shop's unique ice cream sweetened with vanilla and honey and coming in a variety of flavors such as Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Caramel Cashew and Light Pistachio.
"We don't just want to be a place where people come to pick up ice cream," Hampton said. "We want to be an ice cream and pastry destination."

Hampton, 25, credits the hard work of his seven part-time employees for keeping the business running almost uninterrupted during an incredibly difficult period for his family – a clan which includes his younger brother, Sam, and younger sisters Katy and Kristine.

He also thanked members of the community, many of whom attached post-it notes and cardboard signs to Ice Cream Renaissance's front window with their condolences for the Hamptons to find when they checked-in on business at the shop.

"The response was just incredible," Hampton said. "We've been very blessed."

As for the future, it's seems that Greg Hampton's vision for this "ice cream destination" is in safe hands.

Next year, Max Hampton plans to continue participation in events such as the recently-completed concert series in Esther Short Park, with Ice Cream Renaissance selling their products from a tent – an idea first proposed by his father.  And with help from his family, he also looks to continue drawing in new customers with table service, fresh pastries and an expanding list of ice cream flavors.

"We want to make it a full experience for our customers," he said. "Good food. Good service. Good atmosphere. That's it."

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