The coast of Virginia Beach became sweeter with the addition of a family-owned, small-batch ice cream shop, located in the ViBe Creative District. Lolly’s Creamery is becoming notably known for their creative and classic ice cream flavors, which owners Joey and Jacklyn Launi say have been a dream to bring to life.
As you stroll up to the charming sky blue building, be prepared to make a tough decision between mouth-watering flavors such as Cookie Monster (a fan favorite) and Coffee and Donuts.
Served fresh daily, this hand-made ice cream shop is centered around joy, community and generosity. Joey explains, “We want to share joy with others through our ice cream and our people.” This is fueled by the couple’s beaming joy and passion; it is infectious.
The husband-wife duo let us in on the scoop behind Lolly’s.
How It All Began
Joey and Jacklyn met at James Madison University, where a local ice cream shop became a staple in the town and in their relationship. After college, the couple wed and moved to Virginia Beach. Their sweet tooth was never quite satisfied without hometown, handmade ice cream, and the idea to start a shop of their own kept resurfacing. They began testing the waters at their factory location near Town Center of Virginia Beach.
Initially, Joey’s entrepreneurial spirit ignited the idea for Lolly’s. “My passion is people and food,” he says. A Geometry teacher by trade, he further explains, “I have a huge heart to work with students and teachers.” On the flip side, cooking was a big part of his upbringing. His father’s culinary knowledge and influence inspired them to launch Lolly’s as business partners. “We really felt there was a place for [homemade ice cream]. We heard other people saying the same thing,” Joey says.
As for the name, Lolly’s honors Joey’s family dog. The idea for the name came naturally to Joey and Jacklyn when thinking about the values of their business. The joy Lolly brought to his family is what they wanted to bring to the community. Joey describes how Lolly always wanted the family to be together. “I thought there was something special about that. She was the ultimate family dog. She was really special.” He adds that they want Lolly’s to reflect who they are as a family. “We feel humbled that we are the ones at the center of it.”
Inspiration & Collaboration
Lolly’s is a creative outlet for Joey. He opens up, “It is where I’ve found I can be an artist. Ice cream is like a canvas.” In perfecting his craft, he discovered ice cream is forgiving. Jacklyn laughs and says, “He may be oversimplifying it.” She looks over at Joey and continues, “I think you forget everyone may not be as skilled in the kitchen as you are. There is an art to it!” We couldn’t agree with her more. Their ice-cream-making process started with finding a great, quality cream base, the most essential ingredient, which comes from Pennsylvania.
As for local collaborations, they are thoughtful about their partners, the ingredients and the time of year. Joey explains, “If we are going to partner with you, we want it to represent our brands really well.” Lolly’s has partnered locally with Handsome Biscuit, Three Ships Coffee and Cullipher Farm.
Their three children and the community also inspire different ice cream flavors. Most recently, their sons created two Toy Story flavors that were released in conjunction with the Toy Story 4 movie. This is an important aspect of their business, as Joey expresses, “I want to access the joy and creativity in other people.” He continues, “We want people who are following us to feel like it is their friend’s ice cream shop. Even if they don’t know us, we want them to feel that.”
The Lolly’s Experience
Lolly’s serves new and classic ice cream flavors—many of which sell out the week they are released. Joey and Jacklyn explain one of the funny challenges is educating customers that they are creating small batches, and the favorite flavors tend to run out fast. For those craving a small bite of various flavors, the four-scoop flight is a great option. Aside from ice cream, Lolly’s serves sorbet, ice cream floats, milkshakes and banana splits on occasion.
You can also catch Lolly’s impromptu on wheels with the Joy Bike along the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Take a ride down memory lane with the nostalgic, photo-worthy look and design, which was manufactured by the producer of Good Humor bikes.
Ultimately, the Joy Squad, as their team is called, wants everyone to leave filled with joy (and a delicious treat). The husband-wife team says, “It is the core of what we do. We want every experience at Lolly’s to make your life better, even if it is just for a little bit.”
Furthermore, they leave plenty of room for improvement. “We are always wanting to make the experience better, and we hope the customers see that too.”
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
Their proudest moment along this sweet ride has been expanding Lolly’s and opening the Oceanfront shop. “Getting to the point where we realized we could open this [location].” Their dream is coming true.
Keeping up with the community and the demand has been their biggest obstacle since opening Lolly’s. They emphasize that with this challenge, they are working hard to create systems to ensure the customer experience is great every time.
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
Joey’s gut reaction says, “Don’t be afraid to fail. And do it to the degree that you can.” He continues to say, “That has been a big thing for us. We keep saying it over and over again. Times are tough; we are doing the best we can and that is all we can do.”
Additionally, feedback is a major factor for their business. Jacklyn prompts Joey with the notion of advice about criticism. He nods, “Learn how to navigate critical feedback. Sometimes it is fair, sometimes it is not. We want to hear feedback because we want to get better. Learn to accept it without judging yourselves too hard.”
Future Goals & Favorite Things
What is their favorite thing about their business? “People and ice cream,” Jacklyn says laughing. She expands, “It is cool to be a small business and realize how many other small businesses you are supporting.” From the logo design to t-shirt production to the lighting company, the vision for Lolly’s has been brought to life with the help of other movers and shakers.
Joey touches on two aspects: Jacklyn and the team. He calls Jacklyn their secret weapon. “She has great intuition for what is going to connect with customers on a real level.” With 12 years of experience as a wedding planner, Jacklyn’s involvement with the brand aesthetic and connection to the customers shines through. He also commends and gives credit to the Joy Squad. “What most people don’t get to see are the people behind-the-scenes that make it happen. I’m super honored to work with some of the best young talent Hampton Roads has to offer.”
Looking ahead, Joey and Jacklyn look forward to “whatever is next!” They express, “We believe what we have created and stirred up is something special. We have dreams and visions of more, like a new location and bigger team.”
The vision for Lolly’s fell into place so beautifully, and they know the next opportunity will do the same. “There was a really clear path to this new location. We are looking forward to the clear path to the next one,” Jacklyn says.
How to Experience All That Lolly’s Has to Offer
Visit the shop in the ViBe Creative District (414 Virginia Beach Blvd) to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Follow their Instagram for daily ice cream flavor news and updates. This channel is a great source to make sure you don’t miss the latest scoop. Their website also shares the week’s featured flavors and tells you more about their story.