Kelsey Hoy’s Tickleberry’s ice cream shop has been a South Okanagan fixture since 1989.

Kelsey Hoy’s Tickleberry’s ice cream shop has been a South Okanagan fixture since 1989.

Penticton Women in Business: The legacy of Tickleberry’s continues with Kelsey Hoy

‘We create traditions and memories and that’s just magic,’ Hoy said

Included in the Wednesday, May 4, print edition is our Women in Business magazine where we highlight South Okanagan women who are making a difference in the community and in the business world. Below is a profile on Kelsey Hoy, who is featured in the magazine.

Kelsey Hoy’s life changed forever when she got a surprise phone call from her parents in 2009 while living in a Mitsubishi van in Byron Bay, Australia.

It was always in the back of her mind that perhaps she could one day take over the legendary family business, Tickleberry’s, and live out a childhood dream.

All it took was a five-minute phone call, quitting her newly acquired restaurant job in Australia and buying a one-way plane ticket back to Canada so she can return home to Okanagan Falls. Then, her dream of owning the beloved ice cream shop could finally become a reality.

“My parents told me they were retiring and asked if I wanted to come into the business,” Hoy recalled.

“It was instant. I said, yes, flew home from Australia and knew that would be my new life.”

From Australia and back to the Okanagan, Hoy was ready to finally make her mark in the business world.

It was always special knowing her parents’ ice cream shop was adored by friends from elementary school and by just about everyone else in the community.

Being given the opportunity to carry out the family legacy on her terms, though, felt much different.

“I can’t imagine driving past Tickleberry’s and it not being part of my world and my family’s world,” said Hoy. “Doing this is a big deal.”

The now-owner of the ice cream shop was born in Whitehorse, Yukon after her parents had started a jam store with the same name in the territory. But a spontaneous drive to the Okanagan in the summer of 1989 was the beginning of Tickleberry’s as people know it today.

“They loved it here and that was it…we all moved down to B.C.,” she laughed, recalling her early childhood years and the start of the family business.

When Hoy took over the family venture in 2009, her expertise primarily involved finance.

At the time, the business’ only location was in its original place of Okanagan Falls. Anticipation that someday Tickleberry’s could expand to other areas in the region prompted Hoy to evolve as a woman in business and take her expertise to another level.

“I went to an ice-cream-making program at Penn State University five or six years ago,” she said. “Anyone who works at Nestle or people that are opening their own ice-cream shops go to this exact program. It’s all day for two weeks… you taste ice cream and take tests about it all.”

A downtown Penticton location opened in 2019, officially marking the expansion of the business in the South Okanagan.

After 12 years of being the operating owner, Hoy knows Tickleberry’s is still a summertime staple for many in the community. It’s not that difficult to tell, especially when March 1 comes around every year.

“That’s our opening in Okanagan Falls every year. We have people who have come on the day for 20 years,” Hoy said.

“We create traditions for the community, we create memories and that’s just magic.”

Ice cream at Tickleberry’s in Okanagan Falls is a summer tradition. (Facebook)

Ice cream at Tickleberry’s in Okanagan Falls is a summer tradition. (Facebook)


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