2009-01-08 / Local & State

Olympia Ice Cream Parlor Closes For Winter Months

First time since its opening 30 years ago

A downtown Chambersburg landmark has fallen victim to the economic downturn with the winter closing of the Olympia Ice Cream Parlor. The parlor, long popular with both Franklin and Fulton County shoppers, closed for the winter on December 31, 2008. According to published reports, longtime owner Will Pananes called the times "challenging" and said that business has decreased due to people eating out and spending less.

Pananes has said that he hopes to reopen the parlor in April or May of 2009.

The ice cream parlor, located behind the Olympia Candy Kitchen on South Main Street in Chambersburg, opened in 1978 after Pananes renovated what was then a warehouse in back of the candy kitchen into a Victorianthemed old-fashoned ice cream parlor. He built it and they all came to enjoy oldfashioned ice cream sodas, thick malts and shakes and sundaes all made with the Olympia homemade ice cream. Whether families came to enjoy a meal or just a dish of the trademark ice cream while taking a break from shopping, over the years the business became a family tradition for many - from the peanut butter cup ice cream made from the leftover Easter candy to seasonal flavors of many other holidays, everyone grew to love the Olympia.

Together with the candy store, its business slogan became, "every old-fashioned candy store and ice cream parlor that ever was, still is, at the Olympia Candy Kitchen and Olympia Ice Cream Parlor."

The candy store opened its doors in 1903 as a combination candy store and soda fountain, and it became a popular place to go for business lunches and for the afterschool crowd.

The Pananes family bought the business in 1919 and in 1947, the original store became a candy-only business. According to the store's Web site, Will purchased the store from his father in 1974 and, in 1978, Olympia Ice Cream Parlor was born.

Pananes has said the candy kitchen will remain open during the winter months as he and his crew prepare for Valentine's Day and Easter.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. produces more than 1.55 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts.

Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90 percent of households in the United States. Based on ice cream consumption figures, the top five individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States are: vanilla (30 percent), chocolate (10 percent), butter pecan (4 percent), strawberry (3.7 percent) and chocolate chip mint (3.2 percent). Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90 percent of households in the United States.

The United States is the top ice cream-consuming country in the world, and Pennsylvania is the fourth highest producer of ice cream in the United States. The most ice cream is consumed in July and more ice cream is consumed on Sundays than on any other day of the week.

In a year the average American consumes 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products.

Given those statistics, it seems likely that many local ice cream aficionados will still want to consume their ice cream at the Olympia Ice Cream Parlor. Hopefully that fine, old tradition will continue in the spring.

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