In Central Pa, this 15-year-old business owner is crafting innovative ice cream treats

·4 min read

Ice cream is the perfect summertime treat, and at Ripleigh’s Eat It or Not Creamery in McSherrystown, 15-year-old owner Ripleigh Maring is changing things up a bit.

She's offering unusual ice cream flavors, show-stopping milkshakes, fresh-made waffles and more.

Following in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial mother, Ripleigh learned about running a small business as a child, though she never expected to open a business of her own, and at such a young age.

Her mother, Laura Maring, owns two businesses of her own and guided her along the way when she expressed interest in opening a place of her own.

"I would watch my mom at work, and I saw what it was like to own a business." Ripleigh added: "I wouldn't be who I am without her."

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The inspiration for her ice cream shop came from her passion for creativity and her love of travel. Coming from a family that enjoys seeing the world, globetrotting led Ripleigh to places including London, Greece and Iceland - to name just a few.

"In Iceland, they had this rye bread and black licorice ice cream, and I thought OK this is pretty cool," she said.

Two years ago, with the support of her parents, Ripleigh decided she wanted to open her own business - an ice cream shop.

So, last summer, the business started out as a seasonal food truck concept in Emmitsburg, Maryland, with operations closing during the winter months.

With the intention of having a business operating year-round, the family decided to open a retail location in their hometown, located in Adams County just outside of Hanover. That grand opening happened in early June.

"We thought: why don't we bring something fun to McSherrystown," she said.

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Ripleigh's Eat it or Not Creamery

The shop's name is a play on words, inspired by Ripley's Believe It or Not, an American franchise that brought light to strange and unusual world events, through television and books.

At Ripleigh's Eat it or Not Creamery, Ripleigh has set out to create unusual ice cream flavors and concoctions that you won't be able to find anywhere else in the area.

"Sometimes we'll sit around the dinner table and just come up with some of these flavors and then try to make it work," she said.

Partnered with local dairy farm Apple Valley Creamery in East Berlin, Ripleigh's makes their ice cream with A2 milk, which is more digestible for those with lactose sensitivities.

"Some of our ice cream is made with milk so fresh that it comes straight from the cow in less than 72 hours," she said.

The shop serves a menu of classic flavors such as strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, while also offering a rotation of daring flavors including mango Sriracha, flamin' hot cheeto or spicy pineapple avocado.

But hand-dipped ice cream is not the only thing they serve.

Ripleigh's also offers specialty freak shakes, an over-the-top milkshake made with their homemade ice cream and a variety of mix-ins and toppings.

Their most popular shake on the menu is the strawberry cheesecake. Four scoops of homemade strawberry ice cream get blended into a shake before being drizzled with strawberry sauce and topped off with a whole slice of cheesecake and a healthy dollop of whipped cream.

"I love being able to put my creative mindset to work, and constantly make things that the public can see," said Ripleigh, an incoming sophomore at Delone Catholic.

Inspired by her Florida travels, the shop also serves pop-it waffles, which are Belgian waffles shaped as a taco and filled with two generous scoops of ice cream and an assortment of toppings.

Ripleigh also recommends the campfire s'mores waffle, filled with vanilla or chocolate ice cream and covered in graham crackers, a Hershey's chocolate bar and whipped cream.

15-year-old owner Ripleigh Maring laughs as she talks with first-time customers Stacey Burroughs, right, and Shirley Bailey at her ice cream shop on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in McSherrystown.
15-year-old owner Ripleigh Maring laughs as she talks with first-time customers Stacey Burroughs, right, and Shirley Bailey at her ice cream shop on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in McSherrystown.

While running a business is a big job for this 15-year-old, Ripleigh said the shop is her second home, and being there doesn't always feel like work.

"I get to work with my friends, and it's so convenient to always be here and hang out together."

Ripleigh plans to continue working at the shop when school resumes in the fall. And she is looking to further her education by attending college after graduation, with the hope of opening another business one day.

Ripleigh's Eat it or Not Creamery is open daily from 12 - 9 p.m. and is located at 2 S. Sixth St., McSherrystown.

Lena Tzivekis is a Central pa reporter. Do you know a local eatery she should check out? Email her at etzivekis@gannett.com, or message her on Twitter at @tzivekis!

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: McSherrystown teen opens up ice cream shop in PA with unusual flavors