Photographer / Amy Payne
Greg Glaros knows ice cream.
Having been in the game for nearly 20 years, with two Handel’s Ice Cream locations on Indy’s north side, Glaros saw potential in launching a third location in Noblesville and secured a spot on Cabela Parkway in the Patio at Saxony MarketPlace last year.
“We felt it was the perfect time to expand but stay on the north side,” Glaros says.
Glaros grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, home of the original Handel’s store and became a fan of the ice cream shop as a youngster. Little did he realize at the time that as an adult, he’d eventually be operating not one, but three Handel’s stores.
Prior to entering the ice cream business, Glaros worked in consumer electronics for RCA and Thomson for 25 years. He relocated to Central Indiana in 1991, and 10 years later made a decision to exit the corporate life and try his hand at ice cream.
Glaros officially opened his first Handel’s franchise in Fishers in June of 2002, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I worked in that corporate world for a long time, and I really wanted to control my own destiny,” Glaros says of his decision to transition into the ice cream business. “I was going to do pizza at first, but my brother-in-law told me that Handel’s was franchising, and that was it for me. I never forgot how good the ice cream was.”
Glaros’s Fishers store saw success fairly quickly, and by 2004 he was opening a second location in Carmel.
“Both areas where we have stores have been very receptive, and we can’t wait to get things going in Noblesville,” he says. “The Carmel store was a little more of a challenge in the beginning because it’s somewhat hidden back from the road and doesn’t have that great visibility you want, but word got out over time. People on the north side have welcomed us with open arms and seem to like the product.”
Such reception is what prompted Glaros to open the Noblesville store, and he feels his new location in the Patio at Saxony MarketPlace is an optimal spot for expanding the Handel’s customer base on the north side of Indy.
“We wanted to separate from where our other stores are, but still do somewhere that was still on the north side,” Glaros explains. “The Hamilton Town Center area is growing so rapidly with housing developments, retail locations and restaurants. Cabela Parkway is just starting out and will be full of retailers eventually.”
Glaros secured the Noblesville spot last fall and says the coronavirus outbreak did not have a major impact on the construction timeline for the new store opening.
“We didn’t have to adjust too much – we were thinking early June for the opening last year, and had to push it back a little but not too much,” he says. “The contractors didn’t miss a beat, which was surprising.”
Glaros says what separates Handel’s from many other ice cream stores is the fact that each location makes its products from scratch.
“Our claim to fame is that we make our ice cream right on site, every day,” he says. “We have two batch freezers at each of our stores and we make ice cream all day long during the busy months. We use the finest ingredients and we have our own company mix. Also, our add-ins are the best. We don’t skimp – you’re not going to be looking for chocolate chips or pecans. Your ice cream’s going to be loaded with them.”
One of the signature flavors offered at Handel’s is chocolate pecan, although Glaros says here in Indiana at his stores, several other selections have become customers faves, including Spouse Like a House, which includes malted vanilla ice cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter ripple and chocolate-covered pretzels, as well as Graham Central Station, featuring graham flavored ice cream with a graham cracker ripple and chocolate-covered graham pieces.
“All the standard flavors like chocolate chip and butter pecan are in-demand at my stores too, for sure,” says Glaros, adding that his personal favorite flavors are Spouse Like a House and Black Cherry.
Banana splits, sundaes and smoothies, as well as quarts and pints of ice cream, yogurt and sherbet, are also available.
Glaros feels his new location will become an enjoyable new meeting place for families and friends, as well as a quality employer for all ages in Noblesville.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and excitement on Facebook, and consumers seem to be excited about us coming to the area,” Glaros says. “So we’re feeling positive about it, and we’re ready to go.”