Soup From Everywhere
In a little shop at the Post Commons strip mall in Melbourne, there’s a taste of upstate New York, Maine, Albuquerque and cities in between. People flock there because they can sample more than 40 varieties of soup representing so many geographic specialties all in one place — and they say the soup is delicious.
Business is so good that after five years there, Julie Shipley recently renewed her lease and soon will open a new location in downtown Melbourne. Her satellite operation out of the Melbourne Beach Market also is thriving.
Shipley had no way to know that if she just cooked, so many customers would come. Especially in Florida, where the appetite for hot soup remains hot all year. It’s kept her Soup Shop thriving. In addition to her physical locations, she also ships soup to fans all over the country.
Shipley’s journey to her soups started 13 years ago when she enrolled in a culinary class to develop a hobby. “I learned to cook because I wanted really nice pots and pans,” she said with a smile. She started out cooking dinner for her husband, Philip, and son, Ross, who used to be gone for large portions of the day fishing or hunting.
“I loved it, I cooked elaborately for the family for three to four years,” Shipley said. “They’d go fishing all day so I didn’t mind if it took six hours to make dinner.”
Phillip used to encourage her to sell her salsa, but the shelf life is short. Then, someone asked her if she knew how to make black bean soup. Flash forward to today, where the Soup Shop is open seven days a week and has 46 varieties of soup available every day (you can sample them before you buy), plus fresh salads, quiches and “other fun stuff.”
Recipes rotate in seasonally — like squash pumpkin in fall and gazpacho in summer — for a total of 74. They all came from Shipley’s head. And only one person at the shop has access to them. That trusted employee prints them out to mix the soups, then shreds them. Most of the menu came from people requesting regional specials, like Brunswick Stew.
The Shipleys like to travel so they can experience the regional soups they are serving up in Brevard County. The couple said they are grateful for the way the community has embraced them. “We still get emails saying we got your soup six years ago and we are so happy you’re doing so well. It’s very personal, people are very kind.”