JP Licks to Make a Colorful Path Back to Newbury Street

After five years off Newbury Street, J.P. Licks – the home-grown Boston ice cream empire – is returning to the city’s most luxe retail district with a storefront that will feature a new plane of lighting technology.

J.P. Licks – founded in Jamaica Plain more than 30 years ago – had a location on Newbury Street for more than 20 years, but when their lease ran out in 2013, the landlord quadrupled their rent.

It was a non-starter.

“That was going to be just too many ice cream cones to sell,” said J.P. Licks founder Vincent Petryk.

Now, they are in the process to locating at 173 Newbury St. after years of being off the thoroughfare. A License Board hearing on Aug. 29 is scheduled, and Petryk said they have been meeting with the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) and Landmarks.

“Basically, we’re going through the usual paperwork,” he said. “We’re talking with the neighborhood and others and we should be operating in mid-September. It should be pretty interesting because I’m having the flush LED lights in the ceiling and that will allow the whole store to change color gradually. The good thing is the LED can have just white light if everyone hates it. I’m excited about it. So, somebody could come in to the store when it’s blue, and slowly, while they are eating their ice cream, the store will turn to yellow.”

Petryk said they had opened up a location five years ago on Boylston Street to combat not being on Newbury, but quickly realized there is no crossover.

“Boylston Street was something we didn’t understand,” he said. “We found out people from Boylston will go to Newbury, but people from Newbury will not come to Boylston. It’s a totally different neighborhood…That’s why we don’t think these two stores so close together won’t cannibalize each other. It shows how different it is over there, even if it is so close.”

J.P. Licks is in the midst of an expansion, he said, noting that they will have three new locations by then end of the year – giving them 17 total.

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