By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Motorists passing through the stoplight at the corner of Pike and Charles Streets in Shinnston may have noticed some major changes taking place at the former location of the Cougar Splash car wash. Significant demo and reconstruction prep work has left the car wash and storage units behind it now non-existent. But it won’t be an empty corner; this work is paving the way for what is to come!
Cougar Splash owner Gibson Barnard said, “This community doesn’t really need three car washes, and this is something I’ve always had in the back of mind that I’d like to do, so we’re moving full speed ahead with it.”
What will replace the former car wash is an ice cream shop – and with a drive-thru window! Gib says he is hoping to have renovations complete and be open by mid-July.
What sounds more appealing during the hot summer weeks ahead than enjoying a smooth and creamy soft serve ice cream treat? While specific treats are still being decided upon, Gib says that for certain they will have vanilla, chocolate and YES, raspberry flavors of ice cream. Admitting that raspberry is a particular favorite of his, he explained that he and his wife Kristi attended a food show in Ohio specifically to learn how to make “good” raspberry-flavored ice cream!
“I have another job, so my wife will be running the business and following day-to-day operations, and I call myself the person in charge of research and development,” he joked. “In other words, I do lots of ‘tasting’!”
Although some major decisions are still in the planning process, they report that they will have all of the summer favorites – like cones, shakes, floats, sundaes, etc., and they have obtained a special machine that will offer customers a “flavor burst” of several choices of syrups that will tip the ice cream as it is dispersed – adding a special “burst” of flavor to enhance ordinary vanilla ice cream. And, those who have to watch their sugar intake will be glad to learn that there will also be sugar-free yogurt treats available.
Even better news is that ice cream treats will not be their only offering. They will also have select food items as well – such as hoagies, hot dogs, hamburgers, home cut fries, and three salad selections.
“Although the drive-thru window will be a convenience for some folks, we will also have seating inside to accommodate as many as 26 people. And during nice weather, we’ll have patio seating outside as well,” Gib continued.
The construction phase began a couple of weeks ago, and noticeable changes have already taken place. Concrete walls have been taken down, and storage units in the rear have also disappeared, making room for 12 parking spaces in that area.
“The structure will take on a rather rustic, kind of “roadhouse” look,” Gib added. “Metal roofing will top the building, and the exterior will be rough cut lumber with glass in the front so those dining in can look out.”
Admitting to being novices in the food industry, Gib and Kristi say that they will test and learn as they go. However, Kristi’s mom (Sue Powell) has significant restaurant experience, and they will be counting on her for lots of assistance and advice.
Their new business has not yet been given a definite name, but in honor of his late father, it will be called “Gibby’s ????”. We’ll have to wait and see on that as opening day approaches!
The best news is that their hours seem to be worked out; they plan to be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. And their intention is that it won’t be just a seasonal business; they’re hoping to be open year-round. After all, as those who crave ice cream know ….. that yearning for sweet treats is also there year-round!
Watch The News & Journal for updates as opening day approaches.