By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times
On March 2, Mason’s Dairy Hill ice cream store had its opening day of the season, following the establishment’s 30-year tradition of opening on a Monday, 27 weeks before Labor Day, every year.
“Psychologically, people are ready for ice cream after March, which explains reopening the store early,” said Jon Droscha, co-owner of Dairy Hill. “People view it as the first sign of spring.”
With the sun shining throughout the day on Monday, Droscha said that Dairy Hill had a successful opening for the season. Business, especially during the colder months, is always much steadier when the sun is shining, according to Droscha, as it brightens the spirits of his customers.
“There have been no major changes to Dairy Hill (this season),” he said. “Actually, staff-wise, there are zero-changes. Everyone came back.”
Droscha mentioned the possibility of adding a few items to the menu this season, but he said that the details will remain under his hat until they are finalized.
Dairy Hill’s relative consistency is actually quite traditional. In fact, it hasn’t undergone any major changes in years, as the community is reliant upon Dairy Hill’s familiarity.
“We have tried many different menu items, but the business has remained pretty much the same for my entire career,” he said. “That’s part of what people like. We will paint, but we keep the colors the same. People like that; they stay comfortable that there is one landmark that isn’t changing.”
Dairy Hill’s repeat customers are one of the major reasons Droscha and his team are confident that they are pleasing their customers. Because the store is located across from both Rayner Park and the fairgrounds as well as being in walking-distance from two schools, Droscha said that repeat customers make up most of Dairy Hill’s business.
Many customers, including Dairy Hill manager Seth Waxman, have been coming for years; they have grown up enjoying Dairy Hill ice cream.
“I have lived in Mason for my entire life,” Waxman said. “I was a customer here before I worked here, and I was served happiness my entire life.”
Not all of Dairy Hill’s customers live in Mason. According to Droscha, there are many customers who travel far distances.
“We have a list of places (tracking when) people have said, ‘hey we drove here all the way from here to have your ice cream’,” he said.
The list notes places from all over the United States as well as countries as far as Japan.
Everyone has a favorite flavor, according to Waxman and Droscha.
“The most popular item is by far the upside-down banana split which is just a banana split in a cup,” Droscha said. “You can easily take them home for your family.”
Many customers, on the other hand, look forward to Dairy Hill’s special flavors that rotate every 3 weeks. Red cinnamon is an exception to the three-week rule, though; it stays throughout August, as it is a customer favorite.
Looking forward to the season, Droscha hopes for warm weather and is most excited to visit with customers and participate in their experiences at Dairy Hill – whether that is just hanging out at the store or playing at the park across the street.
“It’s not just some other ice cream place,” Waxman said. “It’s a destination.”