Ice Cream Parlor Finishes Renovation
Anthony Parks used to work mornings at his father's convenience store in downtown Southern Pines and spend his afternoons at The Ice Cream Parlor.
"I'd make a couple of bucks and come here to play video games and eat ice cream," said Parks, who purchased the business in 2002. "Downtown is still awesome and I love being a part of it."
Even though business has been off a little, Parks is spending five figures to give The Ice Cream Parlor a face-lift.
"Now is the time to reinvest," he said. "I've been saving up for this for a year. I wanted to freshen things up and make them right again. I've got an immense amount of pride in this place."
Parks, 38, closed The Ice Cream Parlor on Jan. 20 to begin the work and planned to reopen today.
"We tried really hard to crank it out in less than two weeks," he said. "The floor in the kitchen badly needed repair. That drove the whole thing."
Parks turned to Scott Thomas, co-owner of RedBrand Inc. in Southern Pines and his doubles partner on The O'Neal School tennis team, to ensure the project was completed on time.
Thomas said he and business partner Brandon Goodman tore out the floor from the cash register through the kitchen all the way to the joists.
"We'd go down a layer and there would be tile, then subflooring, then carpet," Thomas said. "We rebuilt the entire floor and leveled it out."
RedBrand also painted the interior of the restaurant, renovated the bathrooms, installed new countertops and cabinets, and refinished the heart pine floor.
"None of it was ultra-challenging. It just needed to be done," Thomas said.
RedBrand, which focuses on residential projects while dabbling in small commercial jobs, did similar work last year for Southern Whey, a specialty cheese shop in downtown Southern Pines.
"We gutted the entire place," Thomas said. "It had the same sort of challenges with the floor. We got down to the original pine floor and refinished it. The floors turned out really nice in both places."
RedBrand also installed a window on the New Hamp-shire side of the Southern Whey building that was there when the space was Hamel's restaurant in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Ice Cream Parlor menu will includes new items, such as more wraps, new salads and new sandwiches.
"Some of our popular specials are also going on the menu," said Parks, without revealing specifics.
Thomas said he often takes his family to The Ice Cream Parlor.
"It's a great place," he said. "You never have to worry about how you're dressed or how much money you're going to spend."
Parks said there is nothing else he would rather be doing.
"I don't know what else I would do," he said. "This town has made me who I am and given me everything I have."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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