Vegan Ice Cream Shop Sweet Ritual Suspends Operations

Pandemic takes its toll on popular scoop shop

Sweet Ritual in 2019 (photo by John Anderson)

It was a very unhappy hour indeed when, at around 5:15pm on Monday, January 31, Sweet Ritual owner Amelia Raley announced on Facebook that effective immediately, Sweet Ritual would be suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically citing supply chain issues and related inflation, low sales, and a partner exit.

“Although we did our best to adapt to these changing market conditions, we have unfortunately reached that point where we can no longer afford to operate and need to take a hiatus to regroup, refocus, and restructure so that we can bring back the best ice cream we can to our customers,” Raley wrote in the post. “Taking this time off allows us to best serve you for the coming year by making a plan for a post-pandemic world, and to take a well-deserved mental health break. We are confident that this is going to be a temporary suspension.”

This is not the first time Sweet Ritual has ceased operations due to the pandemic. On March 15, 2020, the beloved vegan scoop shop closed for nearly three months, pivoting to a curbside-only operation in early May of that year. The shop reopened for in-store service in February 2021, offering its popular shakes, soft serve, sundaes, and other vegan treats, albeit with a new pea-protein ice cream base.

Sweet Ritual opened in 2011 as a pop-up shop in the JuiceLand location at 45th and Duval in Hyde Park. Raley and then-business partner Valerie Ward successfully crowdfunded to open their own brick and mortar space on Airport Blvd. in 2016. In 2020, Raley partnered with L’il Nonna’s vegan pizza truck to open Big Nonna’s pizza and ice cream in north Austin. A robust wholesale operation found Sweet Ritual pints in places like Fresh Plus, Wheatsville Co-op, and Tiny Grocer, among others; if you want to stock up on your favorite Sweet Ritual flavors, those joints are your best bet.

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Sweet Ritual, Amelia Raley, COVID-19 closures

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