How a big yellow ice cream shop in Watkins Glen became a destination over 40 years

On South Franklin Road in Watkins Glen, The Wonderful Escape Ice Product Parlor is really hard to overlook.

The family-owned ice product shop with sunshine yellow paint and royal blue trim has been a mainstay in the city because 1982 and has experienced guests from all 50 states and quite a few unique international locations.

Within is a retro, old-fashioned ice product parlor, with records lining the partitions, a pinball device, penny machine and antique scooping spoons.

Behind the store is the Honsberger household: initial homeowners, Peter, 77, and Eileen, 75, and their daughter, Jackie, who is a co-proprietor.

In its 40 many years of procedure, the shop has been by way of a multitude of improvements, adapting to its setting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and acquiring new approaches to serve the neighborhood of Watkins Glen.

The Great Escape located on 221 S Franklin St in Watkins Glen.

The Fantastic Escape positioned on 221 S Franklin St in Watkins Glen.

‘The large yellow ice product shop’

Ice product wasn’t normally in the options for the Honsberger relatives. Peter Honsberger owned a hog farm in the late 70’s and Eileen worked in nursing.

But Peter constantly desired to have a fallback choice in circumstance the farm did not work out and he jumped at the option when the store — at the time, painted pea green — went up for sale in 1982.

Eileen hated the building colour and wished to improve it to some thing that would be inviting and give their recently bought business enterprise a wow variable, so they made the decision to go with yellow — it turned out a tad brighter than she’d supposed — and blue. The color became the shop’s top attribute.

“At the time it was on and it was on,” Jackie Honsenberger claimed, “which is how we’re acknowledged, as the major yellow ice cream store in town.”

Jackie has been in the business enterprise considering the fact that she was a child scooping ice cream at five many years previous.

“It was pretty fast paced and speedy-paced,” she mentioned. “I fulfilled a lot of people today. It taught me a large amount of folks techniques, a do the job ethic and how the shopper assistance entire world worked.”

Now she’s stepped into a much more prominent role as co-proprietor, but her dad and mom are however included.

“My mother continue to makes the ice product cakes and my father still handles all of the routine maintenance,” Jackie stated.

Jackie Honsberger has been involved with The Great Escape since she was five-years-old.

Jackie Honsberger has been concerned with The Fantastic Escape considering that she was five-yrs-outdated.

Variations all over the many years

When Peter and Eileen acquired the ice product shop, it was just a making with a wander-up window.

They expanded it to contain indoor as nicely as outside dining, believing prospects would want to come in and glimpse at the taste they were obtaining right before acquiring it, and providing them the chance to offer you cost-free samples. The pair even went to Italy to study how to make gelato and applied it at their retail outlet.

They started off out serving Hershey’s ice cream and delicate custard from Upstate Farms, and have also been building their personal ice product since 2005.

Jackie has built variations, far too. During the peak of the pandemic, Jackie switched to advertising her ice product wholesale. Buyers could enjoy a 50 % gallon tub, ice cream sandwiches and other treats from The Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor at regional grocery merchants — it’s accessible at 7 distinctive places in the Finger Lakes location. The improve stored the business worthwhile.

She also reinstated the entrance walk-up windows the business experienced when her parents first acquired it, and ordered the Sweet Escape ice cream catering truck for exclusive functions.

The Great Escape purchased The Sweet Escape, a truck to bring to catering events and birthday parties during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fantastic Escape acquired The Sweet Escape, a truck to provide to catering situations and birthday parties for the duration of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The essential to results

In 40 many years, the Great Escape has never had a down thirty day period. Its homeowners say the shop has constantly been financially rewarding at the conclude of the calendar year. The locale helps — the shop is just a stone’s toss absent from Watkins Glen State Park, which attracts 1 million people for each 12 months — but it’s much more than that.

Most situations when you stop at the Good Escape for ice product, you can locate a Honsberger family members member in there to greet you, strike up a discussion with and provide you ice cream.

Which is how it is really normally been.

An example of the homemade ice cream from The Great Escape.

An illustration of the do-it-yourself ice product from The Good Escape.

“My mothers and fathers created a genuinely good organization,” Jackie mentioned. “They had been family members oriented. We were being always in this article. They had been always here, even though they both of those have total-time positions.”

Even though Jackie moved away to Minnesota from 2005 to 2007, doing work at a cattle farm and at a restaurant on the weekends, she wanted to occur again and assistance her mothers and fathers run the keep.

“I consider property is where you happen to be at and we just have a enjoyment small business,” she said. “There is practically nothing superior than serving ice cream.”

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This article initially appeared on The Leader: Fantastic Escape Ice Cream: How a Watkins Glen store grew to become a landmark