“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” The brand new ice cream parlor, Elkin Country Creamery, has only been open for about a month since June 25 and already has attracted thousands of residents. Owned by Mark Halbedl and his daughter Maegan Halbedl, the Country Creamery has been becoming a community hub in recent weeks for friends, families and couples dropping in to sample the tasty homemade treats.
“It’s cute, the ice cream was great, and we like the tables outside. In the summertime, everybody likes to enjoy their ice cream outside. We brought our kids with us today and we’re going to be paying for it all night,” said Michelle Harris and Amanda Adams.
“We want to come back,” said Paisley Harris and Josie Adams.
The creamery is located on 615 N. Bridge St. in Elkin.
“It’s our brand,” said owner Mark Halbedl. “We make our ice cream in Greensboro, but eventually we’re going to make it right here. We have a shed building in front of the main shop which were going to set up for making ice cream on site. People will be able to see it being made.”
“The demand has been overwhelming,” said owner Maegan Halbedl. “We’ve felt really welcomed and supported on the ice cream, not to mention the feedback we’ve gotten on our flavors. We’ve actually ran out a couple of times and we’ve had a lot of people request that we stay open during the winter as well.”
One of the major goals of the creamery is to become a fun community hub for residents.
“I really like customer service and getting to know people in the community,” said Maegan Halbedl. “I like getting to be a community center where people come to hang out. We’ve had church groups and softball groups come by already. We try to be generous here. We give out cards to new customers which are stamped per scoop with the final stamp giving the customer a free double scoop.”
Mark Halbedl has always had a love for ice cream and back in his hometown he would go to the local ice cream shop and get a waffle cone every single night. He had always wanted to own his own ice cream shop. When he moved to Elkin a year ago, he found no place for him to get ice cream so he decided to open his own parlor. He chose to have the parlor at the old gas station because of its flatness, the parking, and the space outside in front of the building for setting up picnic tables.
“When I moved up here last year from Mooresville, I wanted a homemade waffle cone and some real deal ice cream and there was nothing around,” said Mark Halbedl. “I kept looking at this run-down gas station and thought it would make a good spot for a parlor and I decided to bring ice cream to Elkin. I don’t believe Elkin has ever had a real ice cream parlor. I thought it would be a neat thing for families to come with their kids and grandparents and just a family place that is wholesome.”
One significant aspect about the Country Creamery is the locality of the business and its support of Elkin businesses and merchants.
“All of the work on this building has been done through the town businesses and people,” said Maegan Halbedl. “Even our shirts were made locally. That’s really important to us. We currently have 10 to 15 full-time and part-time employees, many high school and college students.”
Right now Mark and Maegan are just focusing on ice cream, but they already have plans for expanding their business and treats in the near future.
“Eventually we would like to have sundaes and banana splits and all that stuff,” said Mark Halbedl. “In the meantime we’re always looking into expanding our flavors. We develop our own flavors and take flavor requests if we get enough response. Once we start making ice cream on site, we’ll have a little more control on what we can do and make what people want. I can say that Black Cherry may be a new flavor down the road based on people’s responses.”
For the Halbedls, there’s more joy to running the Country Creamery than just making the ice cream.
“I like seeing the kids enjoying the ice cream and people hanging out here,” said Mark Halbedl. “Families, friends, couples, we try to make this a comfortable place for them.”
“I like working the creative side of the shop and making more flavors for our customers. It’s great to make what they want to see,” said Maegan Halbedl.
The creamery announced its regular summer hours Tuesday. The creamery is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.