17 Aug Sweet Spotz
Beth Richardson and Philip Enlow have 6 Kentucky Proud Spotz Gelato stores, including the newest in Oldham County’s La Grange.
By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley, Reporter, Kentucky Monthly
August 1, 2022
Beth Richardson and Philip Enlow love to travel. Every year, the husband-and-wife duo took time off from their successful corporate careers, suspended their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries from their Scott County hobby farm, and headed south to their favorite Mexican town, Playa del Carmen.
About 10 years ago, during their nightly visit to a nearby ice cream shop, they made a discovery that put them on a path they didn’t see coming. “I finally said to the owner, ‘Is this just good because we’re on vacation? Why is it so much better here?’ ” Richardson said. “He said, ‘It’s not ice cream; it’s gelato.’ ”
Gelato, Richardson learned, is made daily, has a higher milk-to-cream ratio, and is churned more slowly, resulting in a denser consistency than ice cream.
“I thought, ‘Well, why don’t I go home and try and make this in our kitchen, just for us, from all of these things that these [Kentucky] farmers are already growing locally?’ ” she said. “So I would take it to potlucks and family gatherings, and one too many people said I should sell it. At the same time, we were looking for a little side gig to do on weekends in a food truck, and gelato was it. So we put it in a truck, and that was how we started.”
That was 2013. Today, Spotz Gelato is now served out of multiple mobile units and several stand-alone shops. “That little side gig has turned into this great big thing,” Richardson said.
The couple’s first truck was equipped with a gelato machine so the sweet concoction could be made then and there. But once Richardson and Enlow expanded to a second truck, they found a need for a commercial kitchen. They built one on their farm just outside of Midway. Spotz Gelato, a Kentucky Proud company, continues to use products grown by local farmers.
Richardson said that it’s “mind blowing” how much gelato comes out of their kitchen. “Even to this day, every pan of gelato that’s sold in our stores and our trucks is produced in that commercial kitchen, and it’s delivered from the farm to wherever it’s going,” she said. “We still make everything ourselves. They’re all my recipes.
“I’ve always liked to cook. I was raised in a family with a lot of good cooks, so food and entertaining and having good meals is all part of how I was raised. But I never dreamed anybody outside of my family or friends would want to eat things that I make.”
But they do. So much so that two trucks multiplied into six mobile units and six Kentucky stores in Midway, Frankfort, Versailles, Georgetown, La Grange and Shelbyville.
Richardson and Enlow even have a shop in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua—their first stand-alone shop. During one of their many winter trips, the couple discovered Las Peñitas and eventually bought a house there. It was in Nicaragua in 2018 that they decided to test the waters and sell their gelato from their front porch, using local products such as coconuts, papayas and other tropical fruits to make the treat.
“I guess our idea was, if we built a successful store under these circumstances, maybe we need to try and do this at home. And that’s what we did,” Richardson said.
In 2019, Spotz Gelato “scoop” shops opened in Versailles and Georgetown. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its subsequent havoc wreaked on businesses throughout Kentucky—especially establishments that serve food—they opened a third scoop shop, in Shelbyville, in the summer of 2020.
“We decided to take the risk and followed through with our plan [to open] and just crossed our fingers that it was going to be OK. And it was,” Richardson said.
Since then, three more Spotz Gelato shops have opened, with locations in Midway, Frankfort and La Grange. Aside from their signature gelato, the scoop shops offer sorbet, milkshakes, sundaes, floats, Italian sodas, affogato (gelato with coffee, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles), and a wide selection of toppings.
As for future shops, Richardson said they keep an open mind, since the previous six locations “dropped” in their laps.
“Not that we don’t have a short list in our head—towns that we would be interested in if the opportunity arose—but I’m a firm believer in things happening when it’s time for them to happen,” she said. “I have no idea how many we will open. It depends on how many good opportunities present themselves. It’s gotta make sense for us and be a good community fit.
“We love all the towns that we’re in, and we are so grateful for all the support we’ve received from people who live in those local communities … That’s what makes each of our stores so special.”
Meanwhile, Richardson and Enlow will continue to manage their family business and see how the future might continue to surprise them.
“If you had told me 10 years ago this is what I would be doing, I would have thought you were crazy,” Richardson said. “I’m in my mid-50s, and it’s just amazing to me that now I have a completely different career than what I thought I was going to be when I grew up. It’s amazing and a whole lot of fun—a lot of work but a whole lot of fun.”
Where to Enjoy Spotz Gelato
246 Versailles Road, Frankfort
109 East Main Street, La Grange
135 West Main Street, Georgetown
130 East Main Street, Midway
545 Main Street, Shelbyville
148 Court Street, Versailles
If you happen to find yourself in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua, visit Spotz Gelato on the Beach Road, a block from Hotel Suyapa. Open November-March.
Be sure to check out the rest of La Grange and all the great attractions in Oldham County that make it such a special place, starting with our Oldham County Hometown Tourist Staycation Program!