MASON — While data shows less and less people have time to go out shopping these days, family-owned ice cream and candy shops remain flourishing with customers and life.
“Until they figure out a way to have a drone deliver a handcrafted chocolate malt, I think we’re going to be all right,” joked Shawn Sodman, owner of The Daily Scoop.
Sodman and his wife Kathy have been owning and operating the ice cream parlor for seven years and offer a wide variety of ice cream, milkshakes, malts, sundaes and even grilled cheese. All of the ice cream and cheese is provided courtesy of the MSU Dairy Store.
“Me and my softball team try to go to the Daily Scoop after every game,” said 11-year-old Samantha Bennett. “It’s a tradition!”
Sodman indicated that while local retail stores are experiencing difficulties, the food industry, and especially sweets, are doing just fine.
According to a study by national-leading retail strategic advisory firm, HRC, overall retail sales have declined by up to 25 percent due to a shift from in-store to online sales, combined with the high cost of fulfilling e-commerce transactions.
“Kean’s is a staple of the community,” said Carol Brooks, a Kean’s employee who has worked there for over a decade. “This place has been around longer than almost any of us.”
Brooks explained that Kean’s has been in constant operation since 1928 and that it is currently owned by the third generation of the Kean’s family. The store has physically expanded six times its original size and offers a variety of candy as well as Hallmark gift cards, handmade clothing and fabric.
In 2015, the adjoined restaurant caught fire and while no one was hurt, many items received smoke damage.
“It was such a tragic event but the community held us together,” Brooks said. “The local high school football team came over to carry the candy into the basement and mothers and daughters helped to save any fabric they could.”
In a small town without big name brands or flashy lights, small local businesses remain viable. It just goes to show that no matter what technology advancements are made – people will always have a sweet tooth for quality and tradition.