What is your favorite ice cream flavor? “For my customers, it’s chocolate,” says Jenna Horning, owner of Bean’s Ice Cream Shop in Poquoson, near the corner of Wythe Creek Road and Victory Boulevard. “It must be a dark chocolate, however,” she adds. For those who don’t agree, there are more than 24 flavors of Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream to choose from. Flavors are also rotated seasonally.
Horning’s favorite flavor is “midnight caramel river” — a combination of dark chocolate, vanilla and caramel. She is proud of her generous-sized scoops and her affordable prices. “I have a lot of repeat customers,” she says. “It’s a year-round business, too. It doesn’t ‘die’ in the winter. We also have customers from Southside, even Northern Neck. They find us online.”
Other ice cream items include small cakes, ice cream shakes with Sprite, as well as sundaes and other shakes. Bean’s also serves Canvas Coffeehouse coffee. Some of the intriguing ice cream flavors include better brownie batter, brown butter bourbon truffle, cold brew caramocha, graham central station and roadrunner raspberry.
What makes the selection at Bean’s special is the number of allergy-free flavors available. Prompted by her own daughter’s severe peanut allergy, Horning has gone to great lengths to provide a safe product for her customers. There are separate freezers, separate milkshake makers and separate dip wells. “I train my employees to understand the seriousness of all the precautions to avoid cross contamination. They are able to answer customers’ questions. If there is any chance of confusion about an open container, my employees are instructed to open a fresh container, when possible. The special ice creams are also gluten, egg, dairy and wheat free.
Horning is from Virginia Beach and is a graduate of Old Dominion University, with a major in business marketing. She worked for entrepreneurs but always wanted her own business. She has lived in Poquoson for the past five years. After years of planning, she decided the time was right in July 2019. Why “Bean’s?” “That is my nickname,” says Horning. She owns another ice cream shop in Gloucester and will eventually open more. Why did she choose an ice cream shop? “It’s a fun business,” she says, with a smile. “I was influenced by my daughter’s problem with a nut allergy. And it allows me time for family.”
Horning was recently awarded the Coastal Virginia Community Impact Award for her efforts to give back to the community. “I feel that I have been searching my entire life for a meaningful platform to be able to give back in a big way,” Horning says. She makes donations to nonprofits, internships and mentorships for young people. She donates 20 – 25 percent of her profits on PTA Spirit Nights. She is open to sponsorship of a variety of activities for young people in Poquoson schools. All of her 15 employees are students, and she will work around their schedules. “This can be very challenging and time consuming,” she says. She is always open to ideas from her employees.
“Athletes make good employees,” says Horning. “They are used to teamwork.” Horning sponsors a Poquoson Little League team. She also coaches soccer for Poquoson Parks and Recreation. She works with the schools in holding events in her shop.
Horning has three daughters, all active in sports. Her husband works at NASA and serves as the shop’s “handyman.” He is known to put ice cream in his coffee. “We like to spend our ‘family time’ outdoors,” says Horning. “We enjoy boating and fishing. We also enjoy going to the mountains. And we all like ice cream a lot!”
TO THE POINT:
Bean’s Ice Cream
Address: 475 Wythe Creek Rd., Poquoson, VA 23662
Contact: Jenna Horning, owner