Marketers claimed the revived Twinkie snack cake was the sweetest comeback in the history of ever, but that was before Gayety’s Chocolates and Ice Cream announced it would reopen its Schererville location.
An independent franchise owner shut down the ice cream parlor and chocolate shop in the Town Square shopping plaza on U.S. 41 in Schererville in December. But the owners of the the 94-year-old, third-generation family business decided to bring it back under their stewardship.
Co-owners Jim and Beth Flessor finally gave in after customers frequently voiced their disappointment on the closing of the Schererville location.
"We were pretty excited to focus on Lansing and the Internet, but the more we thought about it, we realized we would like to run it as family-owned," said Gayety's co-owner Beth Flessor. "We got asked every day about it, whether on phone calls, in the store or on Facebook. It made us think about it. We always loved that spot from the very beginning, and the pressure from social media and the customers made it a no-brainer."
Gayety's is widely known for its premium homemade ice cream and gourmet hand-dipped chocolates, which is sold in gift shops of upscale Chicago hotels, including the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton. USA Today has named it the best ice cream parlor in Illinois and one of the top 50 in the nation.
Former Indiana State Democratic Party Chairman Peter Manous and a group of Chicago investors opened the Schererville outpost in October 2011. He told the Flessors he closed it because he wanted to pursue a different direction in his career.
The Flessors plan to reorganize the Schererville store to stock more of the products Gayety's carries in Lansing, including a wider variety of milk and dark chocolates, chocolate-covered fruits, nuts, gift baskets and caramel apples. The story will offer more variety, old favorites like Designer Dessert cupcakes, and new products including chocolate-covered strawberry kabobs for Valentine's Day.
"We hope to bring the 'family flavor' to our Schererville customers and provide them with exceptional service and wonderful premium homemade ice cream, gourmet hand-dipped chocolates and Designer Dessert cupcakes," said Jim Flessor, co-owner of Gayety's. "I think they’ll like it."
About 10 employees, including some from the Lansing location, will work at the store. The Flessors think it will thrive under new management in such a heavily traveled shopping area. The strip mall's landlord told them he believed in the product, Beth Flessor said.
The Flessors will focus on their two Gayety's stores, but are no longer interest in franchising.
"We're kind of control freaks," she said. "When people come in here, we want them to have the best product. We've put so much energy and time in it, we don't want to compromise quality and take that risk. We really love it. It's more than a job, and I hope customers can feel that difference."
Gayety’s, 36 U.S. 41, reopens at noon on Friday. A grand opening celebration is planned at 2 p.m. Sunday. The event will feature a balloon release, $2 cones, and face-painting for children.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon until 9 p.m. on Sundays.