The Sweet Life
Okeiya Dinnall dishes up ice cream treats at 2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More in Ocean Isle Beach.
At 2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More, Okeiya Dinnall makes ice cream sundaes, malted milkshakes and hot dog dishes that hit the spot for everyone.
Okeiya Dinnall is the owner/operator of 2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More in Ocean Isle Beach, but it’s an all-in-the-family business. “My husband, Fray Dinnall, runs the shop on the weekends since he’s got a full-time job Monday through Friday,” Dinnall says. “My son, Nick, is a student at Fayetteville State University and whenever he’s home from school, he helps out in the store. My daughter, Chelsey, helped when we opened the shop in April 2018. Now she is married, lives a few hours away and has a one-year-old son.”
A native of Supply, Dinnall is a 1992 graduate of West Brunswick High School in Shallotte. She worked as a certified nursing assistant for 10 years in a local hospital, was a medical records assistant at two different hospitals, worked as a surgical scheduler and more.
Along the way Dinnall earned an associate’s degree in health information technology and another associate’s degree in office administration from Brunswick Community College in Bolivia. She received a third associate’s degree in biblical studies from the North Carolina Theological Seminary in Clinton.
Dinnall expects to receive her bachelor’s degree in human services with a major in religion from Gardner-Webb University. She’s finishing up several classes online and will graduate next May. An ordained minister, she believes in the power of prayer.
“Life puts opportunities in front of us and it’s up to us to take those opportunities or keep on going,” she says. “The choices are all up to us.”
That’s how she came to be the owner of 2 Ladies and a Scoop. “My husband and I were talking about my starting my own business, and all of a sudden we noticed that my future shop was available. We had taken a drive through the shopping center in Ocean Isle Beach and when we saw that for rent sign on the door, we looked at each other and said, ‘Why not?’”
The shop used to be Build a Sundae, so the counters, cabinets and work spaces were already set up as an ice cream shop. The Dinnalls did some painting and remodeling and got all set.
Initially Dinnall had a business partner named Mary Blackhorse, hence the name 2 Ladies and a Scoop, but eight months into their venture, Mary’s fiancé, Michael “Ming” Gillis, passed away. Dinnall has been the sole owner ever since.
2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More offers 24 different flavors of ice cream along with yogurt, milkshakes, root beer floats, frappes and Hawaiian shave ice. Dinnall says, “We have some sugar-free and low-fat options available in the ice cream and syrups for those who are watching their sugar intake and/or calories.”
Ice cream cakes are also available for pick up or delivery. On Fridays they have hot dogs as well as banana pudding.
Dinnall says that cappuccino crunch is by far the most requested ice cream and the salted caramel pretzel is the most requested milkshake.
2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More is busiest between Easter and Labor Day when Dinnall estimates that visitors to the Ocean Isle Beach area account for approximately 85 percent of her business.
“People stop in at 2 Ladies & a Scoop Plus More on the way to or from the beach, and many times families stay to enjoy their ice cream treats,” she says. “My goal was to make this shop a family-friendly gathering place so adults and children can have fun.”
Games are available for the kids, and they offer painting classes for the adults. A local woman named Connie Shurtz, an artist who formerly owned an art gallery, teaches a monthly painting class that’s very popular. Several mothers and daughters enjoy taking the art class together. The artist also teaches a resin art sun catchers class.
One of Dinnall’s favorite sayings is: “Turn your can’ts into cans and your dreams into plans.” She’s got that saying typed up and posted prominently on a wall in the ice cream shop. She adds, “It’s not a matter of if you’re going to make your dreams come true, it’s a matter of when. We all have our hopes, our dreams and the chance to look forward to the next unfolding chapter of our lives.”
As a small business owner, Dinnall feels that one of her jobs is to encourage the employees who work for her. During the busy summer months, Dinnall has six part-time employees working in the shop, many of whom are high school and college students.
“I’m a role model for my employees, that’s for sure,” Dinnall says. “How I speak to them and to my customers has an impact. When I do inventory, figure out the payroll, pay the bills and issue the work schedule for the next week, I’m showing them every day that if your dream is to own a business and you work hard, that dream can come true.”
Dinnall hopes that the younger employees learn about being responsible employees — about being on time, about being dependable and about how to show excellent customer service skills each and every day.
“Most of us learn by example about being friendly, kind and going the extra mile to meet a customer’s request,” she says. “I learned from those who came before me and now I’m showing the younger generation how things work. For these employees, I am that example.”
Dinnall says she is thankful that this career change came along.
“People are happy when they are out together talking, laughing and eating ice cream. How do I feel when I see all of those smiles? I feel great! I like making people happy.”