Ice cream is one sweet treat. Whether it was purchased from a truck, a grocery store, the pool concession stand or from the small-town Dairy Queen after a little league win, we have all experienced the joys of ice cream. We all have our favorite brands, favorite flavors and favorite ways to consume the treat. Ice cream may be a simple dessert choice for the majority of the country, but to me it is something that I hold near and dear to my heart for many reasons.
It all started back when my great-grandpa, Joseph Krob, worked on his parents’ farm and delivered milk door-to-door. Due to the fact that money was tight back then, my grandfather chose to leave the farm and open his own dairy, the Joseph Krob Dairy. After 25 years of delivering milk and other dairy products, there was an opportunity for he and my great-grandmother, Christina Krob. In 1958, they purchased a vacant building on National Road in Lansing, Ohio and the Joseph Krob Dairy Bar was founded. For the next 40 years, my great-grandparents and their Dairy Bar were known best for their iconic homemade ice cream, pies, delivery services and more. It was also a hot spot on Fridays during Lent because they proudly sold Coleman’s Fish Sandwiches. When my grandfather passed away suddenly in 1975, my great-uncle, Jim Krob, took over the business. Sadly, the once full of life Dairy Bar closed in 1995. Being that I was 3 years old, I have very faint memories of the Dairy Bar. Lucky for me, my uncle still made his homemade ice cream for family picnics, and though I am a bit biased, it is still to this day the best ice cream I have ever tasted. In November of 2013, the Dairy Bar was torn down. It was a very sad day for my mom’s side of the family.
However, this is not where the family tradition ends (This is where the story gets a bit confusing. I promise I’m going to try to make this as simple as possible). While all of this was happening, my great-grandparent’s nephew (and my mom’s second cousin), Bill Horky purchased a Dairy Queen franchise in 1957 in the small Village of Shadyside, Ohio. In 1971, Bill hired a 16-year-old girl named Lee Ann Morgan to work at his Dairy Queen in Shadyside. This 16-year-old old just happens to be my dad’s sister. After 11 years of working at the Shadyside Dairy Queen, she was blessed enough to have to opportunity to purchase the business in 1982. It just so happens that my parents, Jay and Sandee, tied the knot in May of 1982. Incase I’ve lost you, my mom’s cousin sold his Dairy Queen to my dad’s sister. The Dairy Queen simply swapped from my mom’s side of the family to my dad’s side of the family.
Forty-five years later, my Aunt Lee Ann has become a boss, a friend and a mentor to many of the teenagers who have and have had a job at her Dairy Queen. Luckily for my family, we have all had to serve our time at what we call, “The Family Prison.” My dad (who often does the maintenance work), two other aunts, second cousins, my brothers and I have all served our time at the Dairy Queen. My first cousins, who are growing up in Columbus, have even put in some time. My cousin, Jillian, spent a year working at the Pickerington Dairy Queen, and my other cousin (who is 9) has spent some time “working” (aka sitting in the back office telling us what to make/scrub) at the Shadyside Dairy Queen. Heck, even my 85-year-old grandpa enjoys his daily duty of sweeping the parking lot each morning. It truly is a family affair!
Our season is from March to November, because who really wants ice cream in the bitter winter months? With the smell of spring in the air, the time to open for the season is officially here! This year is extra special for me – it’s my 10-year anniversary. I can proudly say that I have come a long way from being that 13-year-old girl who would cringe at the thought of touching a trash bag filled with ice cream and food residue, let alone scrubbing out a garbage can. Today, I am happy to say that I can do it all without having a second thought. I owe all of this to my aunt. I am grateful that she never gave me special treatment just because I am her niece, if anything she was harder on me than my other co-workers, and I respect her for that. Ice cream to me is family, friends, memories, life-lessons and learning how to provide service with a smile. This year marks my aunt’s 45th anniversary and she inspires me to be a great businesswoman each and every day. Opening day is next week, and I cannot wait to see what new memories this season will bring!