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A new scoop on flavor
Strickland's opens another ice cream parlor

Beacon Journal staff writer

BATH TWP.: The thought must have occurred to almost every one of the 40,000 people who drive through the heart of the Montrose shopping district every day: There is something -- some je ne sais quoi -- missing in Montrose.

After hitting every retail chain store from Borders to Toys R Us, grabbing lunch at one of dozens of chain restaurants, and maybe taking a multiplex movie break, what could people be missing?

Scott Margroff thinks he has figured it out. They want a sweet, old-fashioned taste of down-home Akron. They want a frozen custard from Strickland's.

Beginning at 11 a.m. tomorrow you can get a scoop of original-recipe Strickland's ice cream at the new Strickland's II parlor in the West Market Plaza, just east of Brubaker's Pub on state Route 18. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

"We will open with the traditional black raspberry," Margroff said. "My dad started that before I was born. Every spring, Strickland's opens with black raspberry."

Margroff's father, Larry Margroff, is a nephew of Bill Strickland, the inventor of the Strickland's frozen-custard formula immortalized at the original Strickland's stand on Triplett Boulevard by the circle at Akron Fulton Airport.

Strickland's original stand now is operated by Marla Margroff Colledge and her husband, Gary.

The corporation is owned by three Margroff siblings. Larry and Scott Margroff are co-owners of the Strickland's II year-round store, which they are moving to Montrose after 12 years on Wedgewood Drive in Ellet.

"Why Montrose?" said Larry Margroff, who works as an Aurora police patrolman when he's not making and selling ice cream. "We love the area. We love the growth. The traffic counts are great."

There are two other ice-cream shops in Montrose -- Friendly Family Restaurant at 3921 W. Market St. and White Mountain Creamery & Bakery at 3750 W. Market St.  Margroff believes his store will stand apart because it offers the soft-serve cones, and Strickland's makes its ice cream fresh on the premises.

Even with road construction on state Route 18 (Medina Road) and Cleveland-Massillon Road, Margroff is excited to be opening in a shop that used to be a video-game store.

One connection with the old Strickland's is uncle Bill Strickland's secret recipe for frozen custard. "When he was working for the Akron Pure Milk Co. (in the early 1930s)," Scott Margroff said, "he developed an ice cream with his egg base, and made his own private personal homemade recipe. It was made in a barrel and frozen in machines we still have today."

You won't find frozen custard made with real egg custard today, Margroff said -- not even at Strickland's. Egg custard was left out of ice-cream formulas when World War II brought an egg scarcity.

The new store's ice cream-making machine dates from the original Strickland's era. "It was built in 1936, and we refurbished it two years ago," said Margroff. "It was in my grandmother's garage." The machine makes a difference, he said, because the old 1936 Strickland's machines make a different sort of soft-serve ice cream than you get from machines today. "The machines built in 1936 have a natural process," Margroff explained. "It has a paddle which spins at a low rpm, which does not whip air into our product." There aren't any more of those machines, he said. That is why there can't be a third Strickland's store.

Strickland's sells 15,000 gallons of ice cream in Akron every year -- about 350,000 cones. People love the stuff. A one-scoop cone costs $1.35, and a banana split costs $3.50. The new Strickland's, just like the old, will have four fresh-made varieties available every day, vanilla, chocolate, and two "Flavors of the Day." The shop hand-packs what is left from each day's soft-serve batches, so customers can take home a frozen pint for $2.75. Margroff declined to give sales figures.

If you want to plan your Montrose shopping excursion carefully, you might want to check the Strickland's Web site at http://www.stricklands.info -- and find out ahead of time what will be the Flavors of the Day.

Those who go to Montrose only for a special occasion can enroll on the Web site for a daily e-mail service to notify you when your favorite flavor is going to be available. Will the south Akron Strickland's mystique translate to fast-paced Montrose? "I think so," Margroff said. "We carry a strong name, and it's a unique product."


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