The Ice Cream Business

At the end of our street is an ice cream parlor. It’s a franchise and it’s one you know, and my kids have always loved it.

I don’t keep dessert in the house but everyone is always welcome to walk to the corner and get themselves an ice cream cone. Up until 2011 the ice cream shop’s owner was a diminutive man with a giant smile. He and his wife ran the shop and employed a teen or two. On more than one occasion the kids or I would be short a dollar or fifty cents, he’d send us off with our cones and we’d return later with the money (plus a generous tip). Even though it was a franchise it was a neighborhood business. It was clean and friendly.

Sometime around the beginning of the year the man stopped coming to work. His wife came out of the back where she’d previously made ice cream cakes to help with the front. New teens were hired, and they were surly and inappropriate. Wholesome was replaced with tattooed and edgy, no one smiled, the store was dirty and closed a half hour earlier than posted.

We’ve started keeping ice cream in the house.

Mr G went to the store the other night and came home detailing all the ways that it’s just not properly maintained. He told me about chairs being put on the tables at 9.30 when there were lines of people waiting and the shop closes at 10. He talked about how rude the teens were that worked there, and that it was just plain dirty. We both talked about how sad we felt about it since our kids had grown up there. We talked a while longer and I realized my husband had a lovesick look on his face.

“You want to buy it don’t you.” I said.

“I think we’d be great owners.”

“It’s not for sale, but she can’t really want to own it anymore. Can she?”

And then we both realized that we didn’t want to be in the ice cream business and there are too many reasons to begin to list them all. We did want to preserve our kids’ memories and our neighborhood. But me, can you imagine me scooping ice cream all day, and being nice to people?

Me neither.

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Comments 6

  1. that is sad that something close to home has gone south.  I hope someone else buys it and restores it!
    It sounds fun to walk there and get some ice cream. Hopefully it will turn around

  2. I hate that this has to take away from the memories you and your family have made, but I’m seeing it more and more, too, in a couple of the small businesses local to us. I even called the owner of one once and he was very upset to hear about the way his teen employees were behaving. I might be getting older, but I know for a fact I was a hard worker and respectful as a teenager. Okay fine, I was sassy sometimes.

  3. Sounds like the same thing that happened to the “chain ice-cream business” that is in our neighborhood. It has recently gone through some cosmetic changes, but it just isn’t the neighborhood kind of place it was when I was growing up. They do the same here, close early, or if you get to the drive thru 15 min before they close, they just ignore you until you leave. I sometimes wonder how they stay in business. Haven’t been there since the new look came about, but I imagine it’s a bit like putting lipstick on a pig. There’s a place that we drive to that isn’t a chain, is a little pricier, that is so much more yummy anyhow- and they even take debit;)

  4. Do. Not. Buy. It! 

    Wayyyyy too much work.  Not as romantic and fun as it seems, especially if it’s a franchise.  You’d have to adhere to someone else’s rules.  I can’t imagine you doing that easily, especially when you would most likely have better and smarter ideas on the way to do things!

  5. I could imagine you smiling and serving icecream! Followed by tweets about the things you had seen all day but had to smile through.

    My mom owned an icecream restaurant when I younger. Way less glamourous than you could ever imagine.

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