Four years ago, 39-year old Brooklyn-born magician and hypnotist Jon-Paul “JP” Scirica and his wife, Cammie, found themselves at a crossroads after an unexpected job loss.
Scirica, who with his wife now own Shuffle’s Magical Ice Cream Shoppe, had previously owned and sold three magic shops in the San Diego area, fulfilled two six-month contracts with Princess Cruises and become a member of the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, an invitation-only club for only the best magicians.
He also had a successful career in retail management as a district manager for Jamba Juice, Levi-Strauss, Aeropostale and Forever 21.
In the back of his mind, though, he always had an idea to open a business pairing magic with something everyone loves, like ice cream.
After talking it over, the couple took a chance. They wrote a business plan and went for a business loan.
The magic began almost immediately when the first bank they approached gave them a loan.
Their first shop was opened briefly in a former nightclub on Seventh Street. When they found their current location at 123 4th St. in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, even the address sounded magical.
From the start, Shuffle’s has received community support. Before opening, they had over 1,000 Facebook followers, and another 1,000 after a month in business.
Shuffle’s has been a family affair, with various members lending a hand one way or another.
One sister designed the distinctive logo: an ice cream cone man wearing a top hat with an ace of clubs tucked inside. Another helped secure financing by co-signing their business loan. A brother with social media and marketing skills has helped brainstorm business ideas.
Cammie’s late dad admired their entrepreneurial spirit and invested in their business.
Cammie, who grew up in Windsor, also owns Cambria Events, an event and wedding coordination business. She credits her mom with not only consulting for both businesses, but also helping with their kids and cooking dinners.
Even their three children help. On any given Saturday, it’s not uncommon to see the older two — ages 5 and 8 — either wiping down tables and chairs or outside selling marshmallow pops from their lemonade stand.
Scirica’s aunt owned an ice cream shop in New York, so it is a family tradition that he, too, makes all of the ice cream for Shuffle’s. Flavors vary by the season, but his best sellers are chai, coffee and cookies and cream.
Besides traditional flavors, other popular selections include lavender cherry, avocado lime, apple pie crumble and mint chip. And since he believes most everything goes well with bacon, his flavors also include maple bacon and chocolate bacon.
In addition to the ice cream and weekend magic shows that cater to children and adults, Shuffle’s is a retail magic shop with tricks, card decks and prank toys. There are several pinball machines and a couple of candy dispensers. Budding magicians can sign up for lessons.
Scirica, whose stage name is the Brooklyn Kid, is also a stage hypnotist whose shows can be tailored to any venue, from Project Grad nights to company team building activities to groups of friends looking for a unique night.
A graduate of Montgomery High School, Scirica was 17 when he saw his first magic show at the Sonoma County Fair. By the time he was 18, he found himself unexpectedly performing his first professional gig, a New Year’s Eve party at a private home in Petaluma.