New paws on Kapaws Iskreme

Two new faces are busy scooping ice cream behind the counter of an iconic Coupeville shop. Longtime owners Karen and Paul Whelan decided to sell Kapaws Iskreme to Joel and Lorene Norris, who took over the shop Oct. 1. “The shoes are huge to fill,” Joel Norris said as he opened up his Front Street shop Tuesday morning.

New Kapaws owner Joel Norris readies a waffle cone as he opens up the shop. The Norris family purchased the popular ice cream shop from Paul and Karen Whelan.

Two new faces are busy scooping ice cream behind the counter of an iconic Coupeville shop.

Longtime owners Karen and Paul Whelan decided to sell Kapaws Iskreme to Joel and Lorene Norris, who took over the shop Oct. 1.

“The shoes are huge to fill,” Joel Norris said as he opened up his Front Street shop Tuesday morning.

The Whelans spent the past eight years busily selling ice cream and shakes to tourists and resident, but decided to sell their business to have some more free time.

“We’d like to do other things,” Paul Whelan said. One thing they’d like to do is travel. Now with more free time available, they can monitor air fares and, if they find the right ticket for the right price, they can fly off on a spur-of-the-moment getaway.

There is a bulletin board in the shop where ice cream lovers can thank the Whelans for their years of work.

The building housing Kapaws Iskreme has gone through several incarnations in recent decades. At one time the building housed the Wet Whisker, which was the predecessor to Seattle’s Best Coffee. Since then several ice cream shops, including Kristin’s and the Hole-in-the-Wall, operated out of the building before it became Kapaws.

The new owners have been living in the community since 2002 and they have two children. Their son Brian is a student attending Coupeville schools and their daughter Emily is a student at Western Washington University.

Joel Norris, who retired from the Navy in 2004, said he and Lorene first expressed interest to the Whelans to purchase the venerable ice cream shop eight years ago.

There will be some changes. Kapaws was known for staying open until the Greening of Coupeville, which takes place the first Saturday of December, and closing until the Penn Cove Mussel Festival in March. Now, Norris said he plans to stay open until Dec. 20, when Coupeville’s Red Ticket promotion ends. He is also considering offering hot beverages during cold months, but those beverages would be strictly hot chocolate and coffee.

The Whelans will still be around town, involved in such groups as the Chamber of Commerce, the Island County Historical Society and the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival.

They also shined in their service to the community. Kapaws is known for their scholarship program. The tips collected throughout the summer are pooled and then the Whelans match the amount for a scholarship fund. The high school employees also chose a charity to donate money as well. Norris said he hopes to continue the scholarship program.

Kapaws Iskreme is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.

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