Bourbon, Indiana may not yet be known as a destination for family fun, but that is changing as word of The Standard Antiques and Ice Cream Shop gets around. Owners Jeff and Jayne Fuller are happy to see their vision for their business come to life.
Housed in a building that has been in Jayne’s family for two generations, The Standard opened in February 2018. Jeff, who retired in 2017 from a career selling race car springs, had always wanted to open an ice cream shop and that decades-long yearning came true.
Although he can’t say for sure why an ice cream shop sounded like the perfect post-retirement plan, both he and Jayne are happy that the historic building has become a gathering spot for locals, families and other visitors. From a coffee group that comes in every day and sits at the same table, to the lunch crowd that comes in for the daily special, or the occasional visit from the Red Hat Ladies, The Standard is part of life in Bourbon.
“We wanted to create a fun, family atmosphere,” Jayne says. “We wanted to be a destination.”
Adding a Hot Wheels race track for an event once a year was one way the Fullers used to draw customers from beyond the Bourbon city limits. The couple knew that their loyal following in Bourbon was important, but to succeed they needed people from outside the area to leave the US highway and drive to Main Street.
At Christmas, there is a big Christmas stocking to draw for, something that Jayne remembers from her youth, and photo ops with a 6’ Easter Bunny during that holiday. When fall rolls around, the shop is decorated for the season and pumpkin spice ice cream is added to the cooler.
Commemorating birthdays with a party is also possible, the Fullers say. These can be scheduled for Saturdays with advanced notice.
Another is the “The Standard Challenge,” an ice cream eating challenge that was recently won by a man from Wisconsin.
The challenge tasks participants to eat 10 scoops of different ice cream flavors, with five different toppings, a banana, whipped cream and a cherry. The ice cream must be eaten in an hour and kept down for 10 minutes after the participant finishes eating.
It is only offered when someone calls ahead and those who make it through the challenge are featured on The Standard’s Wall of Fame. Jayne says people do hear about the challenge and many have tried. This unique food-centered contest is helping to promote the business as a destination, she says.
While the atmosphere is a nod back to the ice cream parlors folks remember from their own small towns, the Fullers took steps to ensure that they are serving their customers the best possible product. The Standard serves Hershey’s Ice Cream. They are considered on of the top five sellers of Hershey’s Ice Cream in the region, Jayne says.
The Standard has also been named the best ice cream parlor in Marshall County two years in a row – in 2021 and this year.
Although ice cream is on the signage, The Standard also offers baked goods prepared by a local vendor, who happens to be the Fullers’ daughter-in-law, Cindy. Jeff prepares the lunch-time daily specials. These vary daily and include entrees like baked spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and noodles, and Sloppy Joes.
Lunch orders can be phoned in ahead of dining in or take out.
The other half of The Standard’s space is occupied by antique vendors’ booths. Jayne says she always liked antiques and realized that ice cream and antiques do go well together. It adds to the nostalgia and creates a way for multi-generations to bond when checking out the merchandise in the antiques area.
Like many businesses, the Fullers worried about how the pandemic would affect their business. Jayne said she wanted to make sure that there was still some normalcy to life in Bourbon for the community, such as having the Easter Bunny deliver curbside service during the Easter season or decorating the front windows with seasonal decorations.
But it was the community that played an important role in helping the business thrive during the pandemic. People would pay-it-forward, passing on kindness to other customers as well as to the employees and owners.
“We were honored that the community thought of us and kept us open,” Jeff and Jayne say.
Jayne grew up in Bourbon. Jeff grew up in Logansport. They met in a laundromat in Fort Wayne and have been married for 45 years, settling into the Bourbon community. Jayne says seven generations of her family have called Bourbon home.
Before becoming the family-friendly ice cream and antique store, the building was used mostly to store her father’s collection of cars, Jayne says. It was a furniture store at one time, too.
Jeff worked on the building for months to turn the empty shell into a functioning space. He built a partial wall to divide the ice cream shop from the antiques and built the counters and the front window display areas. The Fullers added air conditioning to the building and upgraded electricity and plumbing.
The work was rewarded with a place that attracts people to congregate, share friendly conversation and enjoy simple things like ice cream.
“I enjoy watching people enjoy themselves,” Jeff says.
“This is a happy place,” Jayne agrees.
The Fullers follow a simple premise when it comes to customer service.
“If we take care of our customers correctly, they’ll want to come back,” they say.
The Standard is located at 210 N Main Street in Bourbon. It is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit them online at enjoythestandard.com, find them on Facebook at @TheStandard574 or call 574-780-4286.
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