Food News

Frozen Matter Takes Over Sweet Action Ice Cream

Linnea Covington
Sweet Action will stay sweet under new ownership.
Sweet Action has been a Baker neighborhood mainstay since opening in 2009 as one of the first in a wave of artisan ice cream shops in Denver. Founders Sam Kopicko and Chia Basinger have earned a loyal following by churning out unusual flavors and vegan options made with premium ingredients — keeping things fresh while continuing to offer fan favorites. But the two recently decided to sell Sweet Action, just as another Denver ice cream shop was looking to expand.

Gerry Kim and Josh Gertzen launched Frozen Matter in the Uptown neighborhood in 2016, then followed up with a Washington Park outpost last summer. They were scouting locations for a third Frozen Matter when they found out Kopicko and Basinger were looking to sell. Kim says that it seemed like a perfect match, especially since Sweet Action was the first ice cream shop she visited when she moved to Denver from San Francisco, the same year the shop opened. "That's one of the things that makes it so exiting for Josh and I; Sweet Action was the first artisan ice cream shop in Denver and has always been one of the best," she explains.

click to enlarge Everything's made from scratch at Frozen Matter. - COURTESY FROZEN MATTER
Everything's made from scratch at Frozen Matter.
Courtesy Frozen Matter
Gertzen and Kim began negotiations to purchase Sweet Action several months ago, and the deal became official on January 1, with one primary change: The hours at 52 Broadway will be extended to noon to midnight daily to match the two Frozen Matter locations (at 530 East 19th Avenue and 1061 South Gaylord Street). Kim says the only other change will be to start making all of Sweet Action's mix-in baked goods in-house, since Frozen Matter has its own baker and kitchen. That includes the vegan almond cashew cookies used in one of Sweet Action's plant-based flavors.

"At some point we do want uniformity across all our locations, but not this year," Gertzen adds. So the plan is to operate Sweet Action as is through the end of peak season before implementing any further changes. Frozen Matter will also maintain Sweet Action's line of wholesale ice cream now sold at Whole Foods Markets, Natural Grocers and several other grocery chains in Colorado, and they'll keep the lineup of flavors at the main shop. A little of Sweet Action will rub off on Frozen matter, though; Kim says the CBD add-ins available at the Broadway ice cream shop will soon be sold at Frozen Matter, too.

Frozen Matter initially made a name for itself by installing a dairy pasteurizer and making its own ice cream bases (whereas most ice cream shops buy pasteurized base from larger dairies). Whether that process will be expanded to the Sweet Action line has yet to be determined. "We recognize that Sweet Action has built a devoted following in its ten years of operations, and we want to make sure that any changes that are made are done right,” Gertzen notes.