Arrow Queen has been serving ice cream in New Carlisle for 50 years. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Cottrel: New Carlisle ice cream shop celebrates half a century

Fifty years in the heart of a community is indeed something for both the business and town to celebrate.

Since Arrow Queen’s iconic banana split sign has been shining over the north end of New Carlisle for half a century, a big celebration is being planned for Sunday Sept. 8, beginning at 4 p.m.

Arrow Queen was specifically built in 1970 by Bud and Nancy Young (no relation to the dairy in southern Clark County). Bud and Nancy wanted to create a fun local spot offering affordable sandwiches, sweet treats, and ice cream, the family business flourished at 429 N. Main Street. For 17 years Arrow Queen employed family and area teenagers.

After a variety of owners from 1987 to 2002, Jason Rhodes purchased Arrow Queen. Recently he has set a record as the longest owner at 18 years.

The lifelong New Carlisle resident and Tecumseh graduate wanted to be his own boss after gaining experience in a variety of food service venues. At Arrow Queen he has carried on the tradition of family and local teenager employment.

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Rhodes has also continued supporting local activities like the summer reading program at the New Carlisle Library, and Impact Bethel.

From March through October Arrow Queen has been a mainstay of Little League players who stop at the place across the street after baseball games.

According to the owners, the Arrow Queen employees love it when classes from the nearby school take a walking field trip to the business.

Currently Arrow Queen has a long list of dip ice cream flavors, and soft serve. Sandwiches, salads, and snacks round out the menu. There are a variety of ways that the ice cream is served but one specific milk shake changed Rhodes life.

It was Donna Sebring’s birthday and Rhodes gave her a free milk shake to celebrate. Both had been students at Tecumseh, and discovered that they had many things in common, including loving Arrow Queen. Sebring had actually worked at Arrow Queen one summer before Rhodes began working there.

It was a match made in ice cream heaven.

“I like to say I married him for the ice cream,” said Donna Rhodes, “but that’s not true.

To this day they both have fun serving people milkshakes on their birthdays.

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This week however that big golden anniversary will be on Jason’s mind. On Sunday Sept. 8, there will be a special 50th Anniversary Menu. Arrow Queen will open at 1 p.m. At 4 p.m. the Tecumseh Marching Band will play, followed by a jazz improv band call “The Glems.”

Children’s activities like face painting and coloring pages will keep the little ones busy when they are not eating ice cream.

According to Donna, the business has been approached numerous times to replace the 50 year old sign, but they won’t consider it.

“You cannot get rid of something that has been a part of New Carlisle for so long. We have to keep it,” said Donna.

Jason and Donna still enjoy serving ice cream and watching the customer’s reaction.

“It’s hard to have a frown on your face when eating ice cream,” said Donna, “When you hand them their ice cream, there is sheer joy on their face.”

As Donna explained Jason and the folks at Arrow Queen love the community and appreciate its support over the years. They are looking forward to thanking the town at the celebration.

Arrow Queen opens at 1 p.m. and the celebration begins at 4 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m.

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