There’s an old song that says “Sometimes you wanna’ go where everybody knows your name,” and the song and sentiment are as true today as when it was first penned.
In the Dorchester neighborhood of Fields Corner, that place is Chill on Park at 140 Park Street.
Opened in mid-May by long-time neighborhood small-business owners Alan and Wendy Issokson, Chill offers locally-sourced, handmade ice cream, coffee, tea, and other treats (a baked goods case is on its way) served by people from the neighborhood for people from the neighborhood.
“My family has been here since 1923,” said Alan Issokson, recalling his great-grandfather’s businesses -- a clothing store and an insurance agency.
As his family owns the building, when the local barbershop decided to close up, Alan was looking for something else that would serve the community. After soliciting interest from other small businesses, he and his wife decided to do it themselves.
“We had a vision,” Alan explains, “of a young and fresh, but homey and classy place. Like a renovated Victorian home in the neighborhood.”
With its combination of reclaimed woods and chalkboard walls, Chill offers just enough old school to appeal to long-time residents and just enough flair to attract younger customers. As the shop is near many schools, a senior center and the MBTA, it attracts a wide range of customers, many of whom drop by regularly or make a special trip to taste another of the 32 homemade flavors (or to enjoy more of an already-established favorite).
“It is a good place for kids to get work experience,” Alan added, noting that he hopes to sponsor local sports teams and get involved in the community in other ways, as the family does through their insurance agency.
“We want to be part of the fabric of the community,” he said. “We want people to feel that this is their place.”
In order to further strengthen this connection and this “fabric,” Wendy mentions that Chill has already hosted a number of corporate events and is looking forward to birthday parties and other gatherings.
No matter who comes in or why, the Issokson’s hope to keep the shop as simple and enjoyable as the items they sell.
“At the end of the day,” Alan muses, “you scoop it, put it in a cup, and get a smile…on both sides of the counter!”