The owners of Ice Cream Galore are making a significant reinvestment in their Point Edward shop to build on a long-held family tradition.
Andrew and Holly Howell say they’re taking the business in a new direction with the closing of Wick’s Variety next and an expansion of the ice cream shop.
Wick’s Variety, on the north side of the Howell’s historic building, permanently closed last fall and has been converted to provide seating for more than 40 ice cream customers.
The refurbished Ice Cream Galore opens for the season in mid-April.
Andrew Howell says he did much of the initial demolition himself, taking down part of the wall between the two businesses and gutting the interior so the old building could be rewired and insulated.
The Howells estimate the expansion cost $60,000 to $80,000, including a public washroom, new offices and kitchen update.
“We wanted to do it right. We plan to be here a long time,” Andrew Howell said.
Holly Howell grew up in Sarnia and lived next door to the Caudle family, who started Ice Cream Galore in 1977. She worked at the shop every summer while in high school and loved the business.
After marrying, she and Andrew lived and worked in London, but in 2007 they learned the Caudles were selling the ice cream shop and variety store and made an offer.
“We wanted to move back to Sarnia to be closer to family, so we decided to buy it,” she explained.
Though new to business ownership they felt comfortable with a venture Holly already knew so well.
“Initially, the two stores worked well together,” said Andrew Howell, who frequently worked in the variety store and greeted customers with his young daughter on his shoulders.
“I got to know a lot of people by working in Wick’s,” he said. “But we bought the business for the ice cream store.”
It became apparent the variety was no longer a viable venture on its own, with people buying fewer potato chips, pop and cigarettes, said Andrew Howell.
Last October 4, Wick’s Variety closed its doors after serving generations in Point Edward.
It was a sad day but also a new beginning for Ice Cream Galore, which had its most successful year in 2016.
In a few weeks, the expanded shop will reopen with a cheerful new colour scheme, a kids’ corner with a small table and chairs, and a menu offering 50 flavours of ice cream, 14 flavours of real fruit frozen yoghurt, homemade waffle cones and smoothies.
Prices range from $2.75 for a single scoop on a regular cone to $5 for a double yoghurt waffle cone. Ice cream cakes and pies are made in-house and cost $18.95 to $39.95.
Customers are encouraged to sit down and enjoy a coffee or specialty coffee and a newspaper, said Andrew.
“We love being a part of people’s family traditions,” said Holly Howell. “We want to create a place where you can slow down and spend time with family.”
Ice Cream Galore is located at 105 St. Clair St. and is hiring to fill 17 seasonal positions. Send resumes to [email protected]. Grand opening date TBA.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.