Hannah's favorite ice cream parlor is closing

Monday, August 1, 2005

I've always found ice cream parlors comforting, especially the old-fashioned ones where they use hand scoops to shovel out heaping mounds of hard serve from heaven.

But when you're a parent, ice cream parlors become more than a place to consume cold comfort food. It's a place where your children have near-religious experiences, gobbling up ice cream that makes them happier than Elmo, Six Flags or any Teletubbie ever could.

My 4-year-old daughter, Hannah, has fallen head over heels for such a place. Once a week or so, she giggles all the way from the back seat of our minivan until we get there.

"I'm going to get Superman in a cone," she says every single time, referring to the red and blue ice cream that, for all I can tell, tastes like cherry.

The place is called Cat in the Cream, and it closed for good on Sunday.

"Just not enough business," said manager John Stringham.

The ice cream parlor, owned by Todd and Dawn Fields, opened in June 2004 at 2532 William St.

I wonder if Andy's Frozen Custard had any impact. Maybe the location wasn't the best. Stringham wouldn't hazard a guess, and the owners couldn't be reached.

My daughter likes Andy's, too. She also likes Port Cape's ice cream. But neither of them have her favorite flavor.

Where's Superman when you really need him?

* New Rhodes to open: If you've driven down North Kingshighway, you've seen how fast the new Rhodes 101 is coming up. Co-owner Jim Maurer tells me they're hoping to open the new store at the end of August.

The new store will be 4,500 square feet on about three acres, almost double the size of the store it's replacing about a block south. The new store is in the 1700 block of North Kingshighway between Bank of Missouri and Plaza Tire.

"We'll probably close one when we open the other," Maurer said. "There may be a day or two of overlap."

As soon as the old one is closed, the Department of Natural Resources will begin cleaning up the site, Maurer said. They're still planning to convert the old spot into a new business, just as they did with the old Rhodes on North Sprigg Street, which is now a Dairy Queen.

"There's nothing definite right now," he said. "It will be some type of retail. We've talked to two or three different ones, so we'll see."

* For sale ... racetrack?: Holding unique properties is nothing new for Tom Kelsey, commercial broker and president of Lorimont Place of Cape Girardeau. Kelsey has for many years sold primarily commercial, industrial and development properties in Southeast Missouri.

But Kelsey has a property now that is a bit unusual -- marketing and selling an oval racetrack complete with drag strips and 94 acres. He has been commissioned to do just that with the former Auto Tire & Parts Race Park just outside Benton, Mo.

Just off the Benton interstate interchange, the property is set up for oval and drag racing, along with a 15-acre parking lot, grandstands, concession areas, rest rooms, ticket booths, driver's pit areas and even all the equipment to maintain the dirt track.

The track was originally built in 1997 and was evidently a successful enterprise, Kelsey said. Kelsey said that for nearly eight years the roar of racing engines and the bright lights of the track was a Saturday staple with race fans coming from all over the region.

Kelsey is advertising the race park in various media regionally and nationally for a prospective buyer. A check of the Lorimont Web site shows the listed price to be $599,900.

Any fast-driving takers?

* Younghouse playing musical chairs: The family-owned Younghouse Distributing of Cape Girardeau is seeing some changes. The retail and wholesale party goods business in Cape Girardeau is still owned by the Younghouse family, but who owns what has changed.

Rob Younghouse and his wife, Laura, have purchased the retail part of the business from his brothers, Fred and Dan. Fred Younghouse is now the sole owner of the wholesale section of the business.

"I want to emphasize the retail part," Rob Younghouse said. "I want to get heavier into party goods, commercial and residential flags and poles. We're expanding. We're going to have more of the same things."

Last year, the family decided to separate it into two businesses, Younghouse said. Dan Younghouse will still be a sales representative for the wholesale side, he said. The business was originally started by E.C. Younghouse, who died in April.

"We sort of just gravitated to the areas that we're more interested in," Younghouse said. "But the main thing is we're still here."

* Refurbished appliances: Heartland Mechanical and Appliances is holding its grand opening in two weeks, according to shop manager Steven Branson. The new business is at 408 Commercial St. and is owned by Mohammad Abuthuder.

The business will sell refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, water heaters and dishwashers that have been refurbished, Branson said. The company has a contract with Lowe's in Cape Girardeau and Sikeston, Mo. When an item is returned because the owner's not happy with it, for whatever reason, then Heartland will fix it and sell it at a discount.

"Half the items we have in here are practically brand new," Branson said.

Heartland will also do service calls on heating and air-conditioning units, he said.

* Sears Grand update: Sears spokeswoman Lisa Gibbons said the company is still not ready to announce the opening date of the new Sears Grand in Cape Girardeau, other than to say it's still on for this fall.

Though the exterior looks nearly complete, "there's still a lot going on inside," she said. "We're getting the merchandise all ready and the floors all set. We're moving along."

* Panera groundbreaking: On Thursday, ground was broken for the new stand-alone Panera Bread in front of Holiday Inn Express in Cape Girardeau. Panera manager Penny Helb tells me they're preparing for an opening for the first week of December. The bakery-cafe will have a drive-through and will be 5,500 square feet, she said. Construction should begin in earnest in the next week or so, she said. The Panera at the Westfield will be open until the end of the year, she said, though an official closing date has yet to be determined, she said.

* Elsewhere: My old stomping grounds in Columbia, Mo., are getting two new things that we already have here -- Andy's Custard and a Show Me's Restaurant, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune's Web site. Something hot and cold, I guess.

Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, call 335-6611, extension 137 or e-mail smoyers@semissourian.com.

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