COLUMBUS (WCMH) – This week marks a very special milestone for one local business – 45 years of memories.
Months after the community rallied to save his business, a local ice cream shop owner said he’s grateful for the continued support.
“My parents said, ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to go to college or can try this,’ so, I’m still trying it out,” said Mark McDaniel, owner of Clown Cone in the Northern Lights Shopping Center.
The ice cream and candy shop is celebrating 45 years of serving memories.
“The community has helped us, supported us all these years,” McDaniel said.
That includes in February, when customers raised $11,000 when McDaniel faced tough times when the pandemic slowed business and closed the store.
“If we would’ve lost Clown Cone, we would’ve lost a big part, the heart of the community,” said Melissa Hoosier, who help organize the fundraiser.
“This was my first job and pretty much the best job because you get to meet so many people,” Hoosier added.
This week, her mother was at the shop buying candy.
“We’re more like a family,” said McDaniel. “We have the same customers. We have a lot of new ones, too, but we have a lot of regular ones and they bring their family, their kids, and their kids in, so we have generations coming in and that makes me feel old.”
The shop’s massive clown collection is, in part, a nod to his father, who was a clown. The puzzles in the shop came during the winter of 1978.
“We had the blizzards,” McDaniel said. “We weren’t very busy during the winter time, so I started doing puzzles and once I did puzzles, I hated to put them back in the box, so we glued them together and hung them on the wall and made the walls colorful.”
With customers back in the store, McDaniel remains optimistic.
“I think we’re doing pretty good now, I think we’ll make it,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to go under. If so, I can get another loan or something.”
In September 2008, McDaniel said he lost all of the ice cream in his store when the weather system that created Hurricane Ike brought 75 mile per hour winds to central Ohio, leaving his business without power for a week.
McDaniel, who works about 60 hours a week, said he is considering some sort of retirement within the next few years.