Preparation and adaptation helped Jarling get going during the pandemic.Restaurant

Today, we continue our summer series on community businesses that have survived the pandemic. Do you have a story to tell? Email VP / News Jim Rossow at

Champaign — Comfort food offers someone nostalgic or sentimental value. It’s what many locals have aimed at during a pandemic.

When they did, one popular ice cream parlor was ready to deliver figuratively and literally.

“During the pandemic, people were drawn to comfort,” said Ashley Rhodes, manager of the Jarling custard cup. “We did everything we could to comfort them.”

There was uncertainty when the pandemic caused a significant business closure in March 2020.

“We didn’t know if we were an integral business,” Rhodes said. “No one knew. At first, I think no one knew what was essential and what wasn’t. We first talked to the health department, but we are an essential business. I was very happy to know that. “

Founded in Danville in 1949, Rhodes said the company was ready for a pandemic.

“We have always practiced extensive hand washing and wearing gloves because we have a very clean surgery and all our food is ready to eat, even before the pandemic.” She said. “We have already done everything the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) requires, except to maintain hygiene and require everyone to wear masks.”

The emphasis was on keeping the store cleaner and the employees healthy.

“I told my employees that I could be at home and see you in two weeks, even if it smelled a little,” she said. “Sometimes I hear places where employees might be encouraged to truck through or explain it — it’s just an allergy — but not here. No one takes the test. But I strongly recommended it not only for our peace of mind, but also for their peace of mind. “

The Custard Cup was initially held in Danville by George and Helen Potter, who owned the business for 20 years, and then decided to retire. The Potters had no children, so in 1969 they sold “The Cup” to Wilmer and Drosa Jarling. In 1983, his son and daughter-in-law Doug and Christian Ring opened the Champane site.

In 2016, a group of local retail investors, including former University of Illinois coaches, athletes and alum, purchased the store from Jarlings.

“We have really loyal customers,” Rhodes said. “We are very popular throughout Champaign Urbana, throughout the state, and across the country. Not only did we know that our customers were very loyal, but we also supported us through a pandemic and allowed us to continue our business. I was encouraged to do so.

“We were one of the lucky companies that could keep the doors open. We run normal hours and to everyone who really needs them during this time We offered a treat. “

On Tuesday, Champaign Cheryl Boyer enjoyed an ice cream sundae at a picnic table outside the store.

“I’ve been here for years,” she said. “It was an old-fashioned family-friendly place that my parents introduced me to, and now I’m bringing my kids.”

The pandemic has allowed us to transform new and old ideas. Previously, orders were sometimes shipped outside the area. Demand recovered as the number of travelers decreased.

“We headed together and decided it was time to expand it,” Rhodes said. “Few people traveled. We lost our students and their families. What can we do to ensure that everyone can experience one of the things we appreciate in Champaign Urbana? I thought it would be. Therefore, we expanded nationwide delivery. “

Some custom freezer packs are now available for 2-day shipping via phone order or from the store’s website. Products such as ice cream, toppings and pies are packed in foam coolers and filled with dry ice.

“It was off the chart and huge,” she said.

The pandemic was unexpected and not what Rhodes wanted to experience again, but the store did well, she said.

“Believe it or not, I think we’ve got a lot of new customers,” she said. “People could check us out and see what we were. Open everyone with open arms. I did everything we did before the pandemic. I think the fact that I was cautious about what I was doing prepares for a pandemic.

“Cleanliness, hygiene, hand washing and glove wear have been and will always be here.”

Preparation and adaptation helped Jarling get going during the pandemic.Restaurant

Source link Preparation and adaptation helped Jarling get going during the pandemic.Restaurant

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