Ice cream shop splitting from Square location


JASPER — A local ice cream shop will soon have a new home.

Here’s the scoop: The Big Olaf Creamery currently operating on the Courthouse Square in Jasper will move to an undisclosed, new location in the city in early 2020. The shift does not come on the heels of a rocky road, as owner Zach Graber explained that the Jasper arm of his business has thrived in its first seven months of operation.

“It seemed like a good time to make this transition in moving to a more suitable location with the square footage that we need,” he said in a Thursday phone interview.

Graber explained that the encompassing size of the current shop, which sits at 609 Main St. on the Courthouse Square and formerly housed Libby’s Gourmet Ice Cream, leads to space not being used as well as it could. The transition into a smaller, yet-to-be-named location, however, is not a company downsizing.

“It’s actually in growth, I feel like, for our company,” Graber said. “It was tough because I really do like the Square, and we did really well there. It’s just another one of those hard decisions that you have to make; that you feel like you could do better in another [space].”

He explained that the new building will open sometime in the coming months. It could relaunch by Valentine’s Day, or as late as March. As the details of the new building are finalized, more information could be announced soon, he said.

Though Graber didn’t expound much on that future location, he said it covers the exact square footage Big Olaf wants for its Jasper operation. It will also feature more parking than the current shop.

“It really is perfect,” he said. “And it’s gonna add great aspects to our growth. It really is. I look forward to that.”

Big Olaf was founded in 1982 by Dennis Yoder, an Amish man who opened the first store in Siesta Key, Florida. Graber also owns a Big Olaf in Montgomery, and the creamery’s products are sold at the Nicholson Valley Store near Hilham and the Derby Market in Derby. During the Jasper transition, the Montgomery location will remain open throughout the winter.

Graber is looking into expanding hours at the new Jasper building by opening its doors in the morning. The local community has supported Big Olaf since the creamery opened in May, he said.

In addition to offering 28 flavors at its current Jasper shop, it also sells espresso coffee drinks like lattes, frappes and afogados. After Libby’s shut down, Big Olaf has filled a need for local ice cream lovers.

“That’s what a lot of the people in the community told us they appreciated,” Graber said. “Without hand-dipped ice cream for this amount of time or whatever, they were just really glad to have us. So, that was awesome to hear.”

Jasper’s Big Olaf will close for the last time at its current location at 10 p.m. Saturday. Leaving the Main Street storefront will be hard, but Graber is excited for the future.

“It’s definitely best for growth and visibility and accessibility for everybody,” he explained.

More on