Ballyhoo – Purveyors of Fine Ice Cream


Ballyhoo’s menu has everything from flavorful ice cream to nostalgic candies.

WEST PITTSTON— Are you looking for some fine ice cream? If you are, then Ballyhoo Purveyors of Fine Ice Cream is the place to be.

Ballyhoo’s menu has everything from flavorful ice cream to nostalgic candies. Thanks to owner and Greater Nanticoke Area alumni Valerie Schultz, the small business has become a home for those looking for a cozy place to enjoy a treat. 

The GNA Insider was lucky enough to catch her during her busy schedule and ask what it’s like to own a business and her advice. 


Valerie Schultz – Class of 1996


After graduating high school, what were your original plans? Did you always see yourself owning your own business?

My original plans outside of high school were to go into graphic design. I was always interested in art and wanted to be my own boss, running my own business. I was lucky enough to do that for a few years, mostly freelance graphic design, website, etc. It became increasingly difficult to get people to pay graphic designers what they were worth, because of all the new websites coming out that made it easy for everyday people with no design experience or formal training to design their own logos, websites, and brochures for pennies on the dollar…or for free. When I met my husband, he also wanted to run his own business so we decided to go at it together and start Ballyhoo. 


What was it like when your business started? How is it different now?

The type of business my husband and I are running now, however, was not in our plans at all. But everything happens for a reason and we’re so proud of what we built together. And…it turns out that all that graphic design experience has led to me being able to design everything we need without outsourcing it, saving us a ton of money on advertising and marketing. When we first started Ballyhoo, we had both worked in restaurants but never managed one. We started from scratch – lots of research, lots of learning, and a fair amount of trial and error. 


To answer your question, everything is so different than when we started, such momentous events have happened. I’d say, these things are not typical trials for a business starting up, but they can happen to anyone at any time and catch you off guard. 


We had a rough start because the 2011 flood hit West Pittston as we were building the business to open the following spring. It delayed our opening until Halloween 2012. We started small and built it up slowly, manageably. 


Then in 2019, Covid hit the country hard and possibly hardest of all, healthcare and small businesses. That was VERY different than when we opened. We had to close our dining room, start Door Dash and run orders out to people’s cars and put them in their trunks for no-contact. Again, not typical business problems but we all had to cope in different ways. Employment was a huge issue too, as most of our employees were not allowed to come to work because their parents were afraid to let them come in as we work with the public. We had a skeleton crew for about a year or more until restrictions were lifted. Now, we’ve been open for 10 years. This Halloween with make it our 11th. Covid and the current economical state of our country have changed the way people work, their willingness to work, and their availability to work. It’s an attitude shift that we were not prepared for. It’s still difficult to get supplies and help. However, we’ve made it this far, so we’ll make it through if we adjust and continue to work hard. 


For anyone wanting to visit, what’s the favorite thing on the menu?

That’s a really tough question. Our brûlée banana splits are popular because we brûlée a thin layer of sugar on the banana that turns into a thin, crispy layer of caramel. Our soft serve, which we’ve added to the menu in the last year is popular, especially when you make it in a Blend-it! Soft serve, all blended up with two of your favorite toppings. We also have a great selection of kids sundaes that draw a lot of attention, like our Area 51 Sundae or The Krakatoa. There’s also our ever-popular Bubble Shakes – fruit juice-filled bubbles added to your favorite milkshake… I could go on… 🙂


What kind of advice would you give to those wondering about starting their own business?

Research, research, research. We did that for 3 years before we opened. Start small, and work out the bugs along the way. If you work hard and are passionate about what you do, it will all work out. I mean, look at the adversities that we’ve been through in our first 10 years. We’ve come out the other side because we have a great product, a great staff and we’re hardworking…that leads to great and appreciative customers who will come back to support your small business. Oh, and ignore the naysayers. If you really put your mind to it, you will do it. 


The GNA Insider works to highlight those who have found success after high school. 

Thank you to Valerie Shultz for taking the time to shed light on what it means to dream big and work hard.