Kanab residents can look forward to a brand-new stop on center street: The Brown Box Bakeshop will be open for business in time for Western Legends! The new sweet shop, café and ice-creamery is looking for a soft opening - soft-serve opening? Hmm - to cater to festival crowds and get the ball rolling for their business. Brown Box is co-owned by cousins Lacee Brown and Emily Koelliker, née Brown, and features homemade ice cream made by Emily’s brother Nate Brown and his educational aide Bobbie Broadhead. “My dad’s the idea man,” responded Emily when asked where the inspiration for the business came from, “and Nate and Bobbie have been making ice cream for probably twenty years, so they’re a big part of it. I always said that I could never do something like this alone, and that I’d specifically want Lacee to come back to live in Kanab.”
Lacee added further, “We got thinking about family lately … our grandpa Marlon passed away last year. It got us thinking about our family, our tradition, our legacy that we’ll leave behind for the kids. I just feel like this is where we’re supposed to be.”
The Brown Box fits snugly in that legacy as well - the Brown family has done business in the building where the café sits for years, starting back in ‘66 when Marlon Brown ran the newspaper out of the backroom. He acquired the building in 1977, where it operated as Canyon Book & Supply until 1992, when the bookstore relocated. It was the Jacob’s Outpost gift shop from 1993 to 2004, after which it was rented out to a revolving door of different businesses up until today - according to Koelliker it got, “the biggest renovation it has had in 29 years, so that we can do this.”
“This old building has been home to a whole lot of the family’s kids and grandkids,” commented Lacee - both of Brown Box’s co-owners spent good years working out of that very building.
Even now, the building remains a Brown family project. As the Brown Box opens, a big part of the menu’s appeal is Nate and Bobbie’s ice cream. According to Koelliker, Broadhead is an “ice cream expert.” She’s been making homemade ice cream for pretty much her whole life, considering the tradition started with her dad. “She’s been working on her completely unique recipe for years,” Koelliker continued. “At one point she had seven machines working, and she’s burned through and replaced at least twenty motors for them.”
Nate takes special pride in his part of the business as well. “Nathan has down syndrome, so it’s really good for him to see the brand he works on with his name on it,” Koelliker shared. “It gives him a sense of ownership, of belonging - and that’s what Brown Box is all about. A sense of belonging.”
Koelliker and Lacee intend on the shop being a place where people can make connections. “We want to gather stories from the people here in Kanab and share stories with everyone who comes to visit here,” Koelliker says.
The place is already full of stories, from the Brown family legacy to the curio store that will stock exclusively locally made items, to the very rafters themselves - some of the woodwork was repurposed from the old marketplace where the Best Friends building is now. Special credit was also given to Jennifer Capson, who painted the beautiful mural on the shop’s side.
Once the stories are shared and belonging has been established and so on, one critical mention remains: what about the food? After all, the store’s motto is “Live a sweet life,” so what about the sweets? Koelliker and Lacee recommend visitors try the “Kanookie,” - that is, the “Kanab cookie” in portmanteau - a skillet cookie, where the patron gets to pick both the homemade cookie base flavor and the flavor of Nate and Bobbie’s ice cream that comes on the side. “It’s the perfect shareable dish, so you can get it on a date or with friends or for family. If you have a big family, buy two,” Koelliker suggests.
Brown Box also serves sandwiches, soups and other dairy products, so there’s plenty to try. The shop intends to open for Western Legends on the weekend of August 19, and also hopes to have an event as a grand opening not long after. To keep an eye out for that event, as well as other facets of the business, follow the Brown Box on Instagram and Facebook at Brown-BoxKanab.
They’re hiring too, so applicants are invited to stop by their location at 42 East Center Street. For that matter, once the doors are open, everyone is invited to stop by their location on Center Street for a story and a Kanookie.