Spring brings new Cloud Cups Gelato scoop shop


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There’s a brand-new gathering spot for lovers of gelato. The traditional Italian dessert treat has found a home at the MaKen Studios North building in Juniata. Cloud Cups by Gelato Artist Galen Thomas opened on March 19 with a celebration of the new space at 3535 I St.

Cloud Cup will initially be open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. Expanded hours for the Gelato Café will be announced as the weather improves throughout the spring and summer.

Thomas has built a reputation as one of the leading black Gelato artisans in the country. His gelato was recognized as one of the top in the country by the Today Show.

“For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed about opening my own gelato shop and cafe,” Thomas said. “When I was first introduced to the space at MaKen Studios I walked in and said, ‘I am home,’ this is it. The space is the perfect size for our giant brand-new gelato case. It comes with ample space for production and classes, offices for my staff and co-working down the road, tables and counter seating, merchandise, lounge and so much more.

“We gave the space a ceiling-to-floor makeover in our Cloud Cups theme where the minute you walk in you feel like you are walking on clouds. We had one of my favorite artists design custom murals and it is everything I always hoped for – and more.”

The new 2,000-square-foot public space is far more than just a showcase for Thomas’ creativity. Cloud Cups allows Thomas to expand his reach throughout the city and nationwide.

The added production capacity allows for Cloud Cups to deliver its products across the city thanks to a variety of food delivery services. It also provides Cloud Cups a base for nationwide shipping services for the first time.  

On site, the new gelato counter will allow Thomas to provide a rotating roster of 36 daily flavors offered from his roster of more than 100 gelato recipes. Included in those offerings are a new vegan line of gelato, collaboration flavors with the Cheesecake Lady of Elkins Park and a pair of collaboration flavors with French Toast Bites that honor the memory of Thomas’ friend Charisse McGill, who recently passed away. McGill is immortalized in a mural proudly displayed inside the café section of Cloud Cups.

MaKen Studios, owned by SHIFT Capital, provides opportunities for small businesses to develop and grow. Its collaboration with Thomas is ongoing.

“I want to thank Shift Capital and MaKen Studios for the hospitality and believing in my vision,” Thomas said. “They really have been terrific partners along this exciting journey and I am so grateful to have their support behind us in this new space.”

The offerings at Cloud Cups will feature merchandise for the first time, including recipe books and gelato-scented candles.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Cloud Cups to the MaKen Studios North community in Harrowgate and Kensington,” SHIFT Capital President of Operations Ashton Simmons said. “During the three years Cloud Cups produced at our MaKen Studios South, we got to know Galen – the man and the entrepreneur – and fell in love with one of Philly’s most savory, health-focused and soul-filled gelatos. We saw the possibilities with Galen to grow. Creating opportunity for a Philly-born black-owned business to expand its footprint in Philly and beyond. And creating a neighborhood place for residents, families and friends to enjoy a scoop, a pint and creative sweet treats.”

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