Fred Trice pokes his head over the fence separating his backyard from his family business as he spies a customer approaching.

“All right there, miss!” he hollers, briefly pausing his yard work. “I’ll be opening up soon enough!”

Trice and his wife, Patricia, are the proprietors of A Scoop of Heaven, an ice cream shop run out of the sunshine-yellow trailer that sits next to the U.S. Bank branch in the alley behind their house. The couple has served hand-scooped Tillamook ice cream cones to the King neighborhood since 2007, originally under the name Nana’s Ice Cream Shop—that is, to anyone in the neighborhood who knows how to find them.

As the current name suggests, A Scoop of Heaven’s origin story has hints of the divine. Patricia Trice recalls having “visions about opening an ice cream shop,” which she interpreted as signs from above. She convinced her husband, and they converted their detached single-car garage into a walk-up window.

Despite its odd location—and bureaucratic wrangling with the city of Portland that forced them to close for a spell in 2013—during peak ice cream season, a steady stream of customers trickles through the otherwise pedestrian-unfriendly alley, blissfully taking their first licks while dodging the sedans navigating the bank’s cramped parking lot.

Because they’re both at high risk for COVID-19, the Trices have not been able to operate their normal hours during the pandemic. But both remain upbeat. When I tell her I can’t wait to visit again, Patricia Trice sighs tenderly and chuckles: “Me, too!”

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