Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is about to open a new location in Gastonia

A franchise that owns dozens of ice cream parlors across the country is opening a store in Gastonia.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is scheduled to open at 2280 E. Franklin Blvd. on Thursday, Jan. 6, said Jim Davis, who will own the store there. Workers were busy training this week, handing out samples to those who stopped by.

Davis, who lives in Clover, South Carolina, heard about Handel from a friend who opened a store in Dallas, Texas.

“I was in Las Vegas for a convention and went to one of their places there,” he said. “I was blown away by their operations, the friendliness of the staff, the great ice cream.”

Exterior of Handel's Ice Cream on East Franklin Boulevard.

Davis’ son and daughter-in-law, Zack and Jenna Davis, will operate the franchise and face the business.

“We did this because of the kids. I’m looking for something I can do, a business with all my kids and involving them,” he said. “We love the small town…the vibe of an ice cream shop.”

Handel’s started as a neighborhood ice cream shop in Ohio and over time grew into a national brand, said Jim Brown, the company’s chief operating officer.

“We are growing exponentially now. We should be close to 70 stores by the end of the year (2021), and the numbers will continue to grow,” he said.

The Gastonia store will carry between 80 and 90 flavors of ice cream, Davis said.

Brooklyn Medley employee stuffs a waffle cone with coconut ice cream on Monday afternoon, Jan. 3, 2022, at Handel's Ice Cream on East Franklin Boulevard.

“We’ll have our staple and then we’ll kind of rotate, we’ll get a feel for what people like. We’ll taste new flavors. As we’re there longer, we’ll get a feel for what the region of Gaston, of what they like,” he said.

While at many Handel stores people walk to a window and order, the Gastonia store will allow people to walk in and sit down, and there will also be outdoor seating, Davis said.

“If you know someone from Ohio, when you mention (Handel), their eyes light up. So the quality of the ice cream is really what made us go there. It’s not an ice cream It’s very price conscious, good for families, good ice cream at a good price.”

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