Jim Cook, owner of Ice Cream on the Rocks, has heard the rumors for several years.
But Cook wasn’t concerned about Minyard’s proposed Lakewood grocery store expansion—until now. The expansion, which could begin as early as April, will result in demolition of the building housing Cook’s Ice cream store, as well as Fishburn’s Cleaning and Laundry and Centennial Liquor.
“I think it would be devastating,” Cook says. “I’ve worked hard building a business, which is not easy to do. I will have lost my life savings.”
After living in Lakewood for 20 years, Cook tired of working as a certified public accountant and decided to go into business for himself.
“I thought Lakewood needed an ice cream store,” he says.
Cook’s ice cream store has survived as an independent business because of “my dedication to service,” he says. “I know many of the customers by name and sight, and I’m here working hard.”
Indeed, it is difficult to visit the ice cream store without finding Cook behind the counter. And he has been a big supporter of area students, offering special discounts to those who earn status on the “A” honor rolls.
Dines Properties owns the land on which Ice Cream on the Rocks is located. Dines is leasing the property to Minyard to satisfy the City’s increased parking requirements in conjunction with the Mineyard expansion, says David P. Hardin, Minyard real estate representative.
Cook says Dines Properties suggested to months ago that he move his store to another Dines property at Skillman and Live Oak, where a Polar Bear Ashburn’s Ice Cream store recently closed.
“I would lose a good 50 to 74 percent of my clients. I’m not sure my business would fit into that neighborhood,” Cook says. “Besides, do I want to put an ice cream store in a place that failed?”
But Cook says he’ll consider any option if Minyard proceeds with its expansion, which will be decided at Jan. 14 City Board of Adjustment public hearing.
“I would hope that Minyard and the building owners would fulfill a moral obligation to keep a business going.”
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