Last year, Brittany McCorkle decided Columbia was in need of something new: “New sweet treats – new ice cream flavors that I haven't seen locally.” Alongside her mother, Gwen Barton, McCorkle opened LICK Ice Cream on Clemson Road.
They were met with many challenges along the way. After she spent 10 months crafting her menu of ice creams, cookies and milkshakes by the pint, McCorkle set the grand opening for May 1. When the spread of COVID-19 began to shut everything down, LICK’s opening had to be postponed.
“There were times where we didn’t know what kind of outpouring we were going to have during this pandemic,”McCorkle said.
When they finally opened on July 27, the community’s response was overwhelming.
Almost immediately after opening, the store ran out of ice cream, forcing LICK to close for two days until its next delivery arrived. Even a month after opening, LICK is still at risk of running out of ice cream each week.
According to McCorkle, the customer service is just as important as the ice cream itself.
"We just want everything to be welcoming and warm when you come into this location to give you a great ice cream experience,” McCorkle said. “It's not just coming in, just getting some scoops. You’re getting an experience with us.”
That LICK "experience" is exactly what has kept customers coming back. The store will often have people who drive from as far away as Atlanta just to try the ice cream.
As soon as a customer walks through the door, they are greeted with a chorus of voices saying, "Welcome to LICK." The color of the wall matches mint ice cream, and inspirational quotes line the back walls of a “reflection area” where people can sit and enjoy their sweet treats.
“You can tell that the owners put a lot of love into the place,” Savannah Wilburn, one of LICK’s regular customers, said.
McCorkle and Barton have not only put love into LICK, but also time and careful planning.
“It’s not just scooping ice cream,” McCorkle said. “A lot goes into making the right ice cream.”
Shanquita Foster, another of LICK’s repeat customers, said each of the shop’s signature milkshakes “come with a little razzle dazzle on top.”
When creating one of LICK’s signature milkshakes, McCorkle said that she will often first come up with a name then try and fit the flavors around it.
For instance, “It’s A Jungle Out There” comes topped with frosted animal crackers. “Guilty Pleasure” is a red velvet flavored milkshake with whipped cream, chocolate syrup drizzle, sprinkles and a slice of cheesecake. As a bonus, each signature milkshake comes in a custom “LICK” mason jar that customers can keep.
LICK also houses vegan, keto, reduced fat/no sugar added, gluten-free and lactose-free ice cream so everyone can enjoy their sweet treats.
However, not all of the flavors are there to stay. McCorkle said the menu will change with the season, so there will always be something new for customers to try.
For customers who want to give LICK a try but aren’t quite certain about what to order, McCorkle said if she could only eat one of the menu items for the rest of her life, it would be the cookies – specifically, the chocolate chip cookies. They can be ordered on their own, or they can be made into an ice cream cookie sandwich.