Sometimes an idea can drag on for years, and when the time is right, the coincidences and the right people will fall in the right places to make that idea manifest into reality.
The business partners behind the newly announced Hiawatha Creamery have taken exactly that sort of roundabout route, but find themselves set to host what is sure to be one of the hottest places in town this summer.
Half of the team, Ryan and Kelle Meininger, have been trying to make their idea come true for years. It all started over seven years ago, when the Meiningers came up with a business plan for a classic burger and shake joint, but the timing never looked right. Over the years, the burgers have moved to the side, as the discussion about a local ice cream shop took center stage. In 2017, discussions began with Jared and DeeAnn Hinkle, who agreed the idea would fill a need in the community. Over the next two years, the band almost pulled the trigger a few times. Then 2020 arrived, and with Ryan and Deeann operating neighboring businesses during the Covid pandemic, the planning began to gain momentum.
Along with the business plan that was starting to take shape, the location and the theme appeared around the same time. With the plans in place, Ryan bought a vintage Hiawatha Ice Cream sign at an auction. As the business partners discussed giving the old name a new twist, a downtown location surfaced, when Mitch and Kristina Romine purchased the old Napa building at 725 Oregon St. The partners approached the Romines. , who loved the idea of ââstarting the business.
Construction is currently underway and the group announced their plans on New Years Eve on Facebook, announcing the opening of The Hiawatha Creamery in May 2022. With a deal in place with Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, an award-winning ice cream maker. of Madison, Wisconsin, the Hinkles and Meiningers will also serve soft ice cream, homemade waffle cones and ice cream cakes, among other specialties.
Leaning heavily on nostalgia, the partners said The Hiawatha Creamery will deliver a unique hometown experience, with a cohesive and superior product, exceptional customer service, and a thoughtfully designed atmosphere. The owners believe their new business not only fills a void in the community – adding a new name to the downtown block and providing a service that has been noticeably absent in recent years – but also helps set Hiawatha apart. .
âI don’t think a lot of small towns have the combination of a movie theater, bowling alley, and a real ice cream shop,â Ryan says.
âIt’s a pretty unique combination,â added DeeAnn.
The group hopes to provide nice jobs for the youth of the area, while becoming a centerpiece of the community and putting smiles on Hiawatha’s faces.