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Molly Moon's Eighth Ice Cream Shop Coming to Columbia City

Not until next spring, though

Owner Molly Moon Neitzel.
Owner Molly Moon Neitzel.
Courtesy of Molly Moon's

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, the wonderfully fragrant local ice cream chain with seemingly endless lines, is expanding again. This spring it was to the Eastside; next spring it will be south, to a former Subway at 4822 Rainier Ave S in Columbia City. Founder Molly Moon Neitzel signed the lease for her eighth store recently, but won't begin construction until next January; she tells Eater she's "learned her lesson about opening ice cream shops in the fall."

Neitzel isn't planning to let the space sit idle, though, no more than she could sit quietly herself. Hot off two major trips to Washington, DC in June — one to address the White House Summit on the United State of Women about the importance of paid family leave, then again to receive the White House's Champions of Change award for her work on raising wages — Neitzel spoke to Eater about her plans for the newly acquired storefront.

She says she wants to "have it be a dynamic space the neighborhood can use until we start swinging hammers." Later this month she'll gut the space, then donate it to various worthy causes for the remainder of the year.

One of those is pop-up business Alma, run by her friend and former Medusa chef Julie Andres, who imports unique, handmade wares from Mexican artisans to showcase locally. Andres doesn't yet have a permanent home for her goods, but come gift-giving season late this year she could host her semi-permanent pop-up in Neitzel's empty venue.

"You don't want to be accused of gentrification."

The other is Families of Color Seattle, whose stated mission is to "build a strong community by supporting families of color through parenting programs, resource sharing and fostering meaningful connections." Neitzel says she'd love to offer her space at convenient times for some of the organization's family support groups.

Light rail has made this latest expansion attractive. Neitzel says the newest stations mean her management staff will be able to easily commute from the company's headquarters on Capitol Hill to Columbia City, and vice versa, without driving. So if you're wondering where Molly Moon's outposts might appear in the future, Neitzel is "definitely looking at the rail path and its plan for the future and thinking about shop locations."

Neitzel is excited and cautious about expanding to the neighborhood, one of Seattle's most diverse in terms of ethnicity and income. "You don't want to be accused of gentrification, you don't want to put a product into a neighborhood that seems like it's out of reach of most residents in terms of affordability," she says, "but I've wanted to be there for a long time from a job creation standpoint, and from a having shops in all parts of the city standpoint. I've been hesitant because I wanted to make sure the neighborhood could support another ice cream shop."

molly moon's columbia city courtesy of

4822 Rainier Ave S, future home of Molly Moon's. [Photo: Courtesy of Molly Moon's]

But Neitzel points out that when she opens a new store, she creates about 25 new jobs, all of which come with 100% paid health insurance, including vision and dental. "I think I've proven in the last few years that we do create really great jobs and create a lot of them. That's a motivator for me to continue to open shops."

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream (Capitol Hill)

917 E Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98122 206 708 7947 Visit Website