COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A round of applause for a beloved owner of a local ice cream shop.
Mark McDaniel had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen Wednesday.
A customer recently saw a GoFundMe page, raising money for McDaniel and his store, Clown Cone Ice Cream in Linden.
That customer stopped in and handed McDaniel his cash.
Clown Cone faced some financial challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and shop-faithful stepped up to help.
Clown Cone Ice Cream is a sweet spot in the north Columbus neighborhood.
McDaniel was dealt a blow by the pandemic, having to close the shop for two months.
“I hadn’t even graduated from high school,” McDaniel said of when he opened the store. “I had three days before I graduated high school, so I’ve been doing this all my life.”
A Northland graduate, McDaniel reopened his business last May.
Current and former employees started a GoFundMe after learning he was facing financial struggles.
On Wednesday, they gathered outside, presenting him with a check for nearly $11,000.
Inside was Melissa Hoosier, a Linden resident.
“This was my first job and pretty much the best job because you get to meet so many people,” Hoosier said. “I know it’s a big relief for him, seeing the community come together like that. You see hope in the world again. You can really feel the love.”
McDaniel plans to put the money toward a business loan he had to take out.
“It will help pay the loan off I had to get, which was supposed to be a grant, but they turned it into a loan.”
“If we would’ve lost Clown Cone, we would’ve lost a big part, the heart of the community,” Hoosier said. “And if you ask anybody, ‘What’s the best place on the north side?’ you would hear Clown Cone. If he would’ve shut down, it would’ve been a big hole in everybody’s heart.”
It’s just a little ice cream shop, serving penny candy, ice cream, and a sense of community.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” McDaniel said. “I really appreciate it.”
In June, Clown Cone will celebrate its 45th anniversary. McDaniel said he may retire in four years.
As far as what to try when visiting the shop, Hoosier said visitors should snag some Fruitty Tootie candy and Tootsie rolls, then grab some Oreo-licious ice cream.