Howell ice cream stores stay open throughout winter

By Staff Writer: Jada Boprie

For some people, freezing blizzards and a snow-frosted landscape is enough to ruin their appetite for ice cream. Others would fight through a hail-storm on skis to get a double-scoop of Superman with sprinkles. It seems like most of us Michiganders would fall in the second category.

Throughout the state Michigan, there are more than 150 Dairy Queen ice cream shops, nine in Detroit alone. In addition to that, there are 52 Cold Stone Creameries, 64 Baskin Robbins, and countless other privately owned shops that sell the all-American dessert. With all this love for ice cream, it’s no wonder many stores stay open throughout the winter. In Howell, we have a couple businesses that stay open to satisfy our need for ice cream, even when it’s 12° out.

Baskin Robbins is one shop that stays open year round. This is partly because it shares the store with the mega-franchise Dunkin Donuts. Customers can order ice cream in the evening only a few feet away from where they ordered coffee in the morning.

It also helps that Baskin Robbins stays fresh and new by its famous 31 flavors. For Valentine’s Day, they created a flavor called Love Potion #31 to celebrate the holiday. In January, having flavors like Winter White Chocolate, Bobsled Brownie, Gingerbread Junction, and Peppermint Bark in the Dark certainly helped ice cream seem like a year-round dessert. Despite almost five feet of snow this winter, Baskin Robbins’s employees say that everyone still wants ice cream.

The local Dairy Queen also stays open, but for a long time it didn’t. A few years ago if someone went to Dairy Queen in the middle of January, they would find themselves face-to-face with a sign reading “Closed for season, reason: We’re freezin’!” This year DQ was only closed for three weeks around Christmastime.

Jeanie Anderson, who has worked at Dairy Queen for 17 seasons, says that business is down, but they do what they can to stay open.

“We do have our regulars that come no matter what it’s like,” Anderson says. In December, DQ had a half-off cakes sale to keep up profits. In the past, they had a buy one get one 0.99¢ sale for their Blizzards (combinations of creamy, soft-serve ice cream blended with candy, famous for their unique ability to stay inside the container when flipped upside down, without a lid) which brought in a flood of customers.

Dairy Queen also sells warm foods like hot-dogs. These favorites help keep up profits if selling ice cream doesn’t.

The Whistle Stop Ice Cream Caboose in Howell is a little less fortunate than the bigger franchises. It is currently closed with about a foot of snow on the steps and will most likely open back up in the spring.

While we have to wait until flowers reappear for the old-fashioned Caboose ice cream, the good news is that we can always look to Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen to satisfy our sweet tooth, which, let’s be honest, will probably never freeze over.