Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is moving from Old Orcutt to the Enos Ranch development.

Citing the opportunity for more exposure and a base to launch his brand nationwide, Greg Steinberger, founder of the popular Central Coast-based ice cream parlor, said Wednesday that he plans to close his current location in Orcutt to be a part of the large mix-use commercial development at Betteravia Road and Highway 101.

The move is expected to happen in February. The 168 W. Clark Ave. store will stay open until the new facility is ready.

“They wanted a local brand to be to a part of the (Enos) development," Steinberger said. "Ice cream and Doc Burnstein’s just fit their needs. As it appears now, we are the only local business that will be a part of that development.”

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab will join Lowe’s Home Improvement, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings at the highly-anticipated development that was once the Enos family farm.

Though Doc Burnstein’s will close its Orcutt operation, it will continue at its flagship location in the Village of Arroyo Grande and in San Luis Obispo.

Steinberger hopes the Santa Maria location will help the local firm expand across the country.

“What we want to do there is build the model for what Doc Burnstein’s will be as we go out and spread the brand throughout the nation,” he said.

The new store will continue to have all the features that make the other locations special, including a special room that will work to create an ice cream experience for visitors. 

“We want to create a space where kids can come in, or birthday parties, and they can create two quarts of whatever they want. While they do it, they will be throwing switches on the wall, we’ll have lights and sound effects, probably some dry ice fog that comes out,” Steinberger said.

Visitors to the ice cream lab will purposefully be reminded of a famous fictional confectioner during their ice cream experience.

“It will be like they are creating their ice cream in Willy Wonka’s ice cream lab. I want it to feel like if Willy Wonka made ice cream, that is where it would be,” he said.

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The new location will provide the ice cream parlor with the opportunity for more sales than its Orcutt location, but it will also help many more customers create new memories.

“We realized years ago that we aren’t in the ice cream business, we are in the memories business,” Steinberger said. “I’ve experienced over the years, when you say ice cream, almost always someone wants to share an ice cream memory.”

Steinberger said it was a tough decision to make the move out of Old Orcutt.

“Orcutt has a sense that it is coming alive. It is becoming more of a draw than it was, with places like Rooney’s and the Far Western. We came in on that feeling,” he said.

The decision came down to the potential for more business.

“We’ve come to realize in the ice cream business, a lot of our business is impulse," Steinberger added. "If you never drive by and see the sign, you don’t really think about it as much. We have a great following here, (but) we don’t feel like we have that kind of high-visibility traffic that we need to make it sustainable."

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.


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