F or some, there is no higher feeling of accomplishment than finding success in New York City, but for Coeur d'Alene native Annie Stranger, starting her own business back home has been just as sweet.
Stranger worked as a graphic designer in New York for nearly 10 years, returning to the Inland Northwest to live closer to her family and friends. Though she continued working for many of the same clients, she didn't feel fully present spending her time contacting them across the country.
Having hosted many ice cream socials in her backyard with her mom, Stranger wanted to begin making ice cream to sell at farmers markets, like they had always talked about doing. So she bought a cart and started Sweet Annie's Artisan Creamery.
"Changing careers and starting over isn't easy, but I've had the support of my family and friends," says Stranger. "And there is just so much energy and excitement around here when new businesses start."
When visiting home while still living in New York, Stranger was always confused why so many people shopped at chain grocery stores instead of purchasing local products. When creating new flavors, Stranger focuses on the season and tries to incorporate as many locally grown ingredients as possible.
"This is a community I really care about, and so much food is being grown right here," says Stranger. "Between meeting the farmers and people picking their own fruit, this community is so connected, and it's been really meaningful for me to participate in that."
Stranger has taken her cart to farmers markets all summer, and though she doesn't have a permanent shop, offers membership to the Pints Club as a way to taste two pints of new flavors for $20 monthly or $30, including delivery.
Stranger plans to host two events yearly for Pints Club members. Together with Townshend Cellar, Annie's created five ice creams — including Lavender Lime and Goat Cheese & Mountain Huckleberry — to pair with wines at All Paired Up! on Sept. 8, the first of these kinds of events.
"I love getting out there and scooping for people," says Stranger. "I just want to continue learning, and hopefully this all will lead to our success." ♦