Sometimes if you return to a place you remember fondly from the past, it just won’t be the same as you recalled it to be.
This wasn’t the case for Kelly Wells Schneider, owner of Kokomo Frozen Custard.
After living in Chicago for 20 years, she returned to Kokomo to take over one of Kokomo’s best places to find a sweet treat.
Schneider, a 1988 Kokomo High School graduate, says she has fond memories of the shop.
“Mike Hinkle, the previous owner, originally opened Kokomo Frozen Custard in 1985,” Schneider says. “He died in February 2020, and I wanted to keep the business going because it is such a popular part of the Kokomo community. It’s an institution here.”
Schneider says Hinkle and her father, Roger Wells, were friends for a long time.
“My dad died in January 2020, and I think the two of them are looking down on me, and enjoying seeing me take over the business,” Wells says. “I think they are in heaven playing golf or gin, and smiling about what I have done.”
Schneider adds that the Kokomo community has been pleased she took over the business.
“I really wanted to keep Kokomo Frozen Custard going again,” she says. “I’ve had so much positive response from the community. People love this place as much as I do. That’s such a wonderful feeling.”
Schneider reopened the shop on June 13, 2020.
“People were right there to support us,” she says. “That’s a great way to get a business going again. We opened for this year on March 27, and the same people who have always supported us were right there again. They love our custard and other treats. This year we will be open until about mid-October.”
Schneider says the fresh taste of her frozen yogurt has remained the same throughout the last 36 years.
“Everything here is made fresh daily,” Schneider says. “All of our ingredients are very fresh and delicious. It’s premium custard. Our most popular item is Eternal Sunshine, which has vanilla, hot fudge, butterscotch and butter pecans. It’s absolutely delicious, and a lot of people told us they were very happy they could have it again. They love it.”
Schneider says there are always three mainstays on the menu.
“We have vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan every day,” she says. “Our fourth custard flavor rotates every day. Some popular flavors for the fourth choice include key lime and mint chocolate chip. Those are just a few of the many favorites. We also had lemon, blue moon, salty caramel, wedding cake, cookie dough and strawberry. Our returning customers, and there are many, all have their particular favorites.”
Schneider says other popular flavors include chocolate banana, white chocolate macadamia nut and black raspberry.
“We have some customers who love mocha and cotton candy,” Schneider says. “Chocolate monkey and black raspberry are also big hits with some customers.”
Schneider’s personal favorite is a strawberry jubilee shake.
“It has fresh strawberries and chocolate flakes,” Schneider says.
She adds that Kokomo Frozen Custard has a selection of flavored drinks, shakes, slushies and “cyclones with any kind of candy.”
Schneider credits the people of Kokomo for keeping her business going.
“The people in Kokomo really know how to support small businesses and keep them moving in the right direction,” she says. “I love them for it. They have as many good memories as I do.”
Schneider says she also gets support from several local high school students, including graduating seniors.
“The girls that work here are just absolutely awesome,” she says. “They work so hard, treat the customers with respect, and they really help me.”
Schneider adds that they also juggle work with several school activities.
“Mackinley Davis, a senior at Western High School, also runs track, manages the football team, and she is in the school’s National Honor Society,” Schneider says. “She plans to attend Ball State, where she will major in nursing.”
Schneider says other seniors working at Kokomo Frozen Custard include Claire Seagrave, a senior at Kokomo High School, who is a member of the school’s Girls League, National Honor Society, and the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board. She will attend Indiana University in the fall to major in political science.
“We also have Abby Guge, a senior at Western High School, who is a cheerleader, a member of the National Honor Society, and is in The Kokomo CEO program,” Schneider says. “She was also her class vice president for three years. She is going to Purdue to study Finance.”