Pokemon is everywhere, a Clinton is running for president, and Vans Hi-Tops shoes are in style. The '90s are back, and Hampden's homemade ice cream shop, The Charmery, is ready to celebrate its third anniversary like it's 1999.
The celebration begins at noon Saturday with a party playlist of classic R&B and hip hop music, and includes a performance from the Team Up Baltimore Dance Crew. David Alima, one half of the husband and wife team that owns the shop, promises nine new lyric-inspired ice cream flavors and free baby scoops of ice cream all day long.
"There's gonna be some really weird flavors," Alima said. "There's going to be a cheesesteak flavor, I can tell you that. The one we're working on right now is corn and Parmesan flavored."
"Our scoopers are already planning their '90s R&B outfits," Laura Alima, co-owner of the shop, said of staff.
Laura and David Alima said they knew they would open an ice cream shop together when they first met in 1998. They spent 10 years trying different shops around the country, seeing what worked and what didn't. Three years ago, Laura and David Alima found themselves in California seeking a change of scenery. Laura was working in the wine business at the time, and David managed marketing for a reggae band called Groundation.
With David a Pikesville native and Laura having grown up in Columbia, the move back to Maryland and opening the shop doors on the Avenue, at 801 W. 36th St., was one of the best days of her life, Laura Alima said.
"I remember David and I coming out front and pulling back the butcher paper, and just seeing a line outside already," she said. "It was awesome."
The ice cream is made in the store, and the flavors change every season. There is a list online of all the flavors the shop has made that includes more than 100 names. Some of the current flavors include Old Bay caramel, lemon stick and summer strawberry. David Alima is the mastermind behind the flavors, either creating his own or putting a spin on classic hits.
"This anniversary pushes our creative minds to the limit, which I love," he said.
David Alima said the anniversary party also celebrates the support Baltimore has given The Charmery.
"Baltimore, you love ice cream as much as I do," he said.
Laura Alima said much of Baltimore's support has come through the scoopers and assistants at the shop. Some people have been with The Charmery since day one.
"They are just so wonderful to get to know and have as part of our family," Laura Alima said.
Benn Ray, co-owner of Atomic Books and president of the Hampden Village Merchants Association, said the shop has revitalized that end of the Avenue.
"Anytime you go by the corner, there's always a long line," Ray said.
David said his store sells around 5,000 scoops of ice cream on a good week. He and Laura are constantly planning for the future, but have nothing in the works for The Charmery other than to continue with its current success.
"They've done a great job," said Ray. "We love that they're here."
The Charmery's anniversary party is scheduled for Saturday, July 23 from noon to 11 p.m. With '90s R&B and hip-hop music, dancing and funky outfits the party promises to be dope.