ST. GEORGE — Picture this: You’re the proud owner of a new ice cream shop in St. George. Today’s your grand opening, which is five years in the making. You’re in the midst of an afternoon rush. Customers fill the shop. You step outside for some fresh air, and you find that a gaggle of young people have cluttered the entrance with a thick tangle of bicycles and scooters. What do you do?
Perry Myers, owner of Alumni Creamery, found himself in such a situation on Wednesday afternoon. Sure, Myers could have been annoyed. He could have snapped, but he was buoyed by the feeling of accomplishment that comes with fulfilling a dream. Instead of chasing their owners away, he smiled, invited them in, and held the door open for the youthful customers at the newly opened shop at 3392 S. 3000 East in the Little Valley area.
“This is the culmination of five years of work,” Myers said, beaming, admiring his rooftop seating. “That’s when we first asked BYU Creamery if we could sell their ice cream, along with other products, here in St. George. We got the location two years ago, and the build was completed just last week. I’ll tell you, we’re so happy to be open right now.”
Throughout the day, hundreds of people — young and young at heart — dodged and hopped through the tangled nest of wheels and metal to get a taste of BYU Creamery’s beloved ice cream. There was an uncommon familiarity between these customers that was hard to ignore. A moment of eavesdropping revealed that many had gone to BYU. They shared memories of living on campus. They asked if so-and-so was still around. Some listened with keen interest to see what flavors their fellow Cougars ordered, wondering if they shouldn’t try something new.
Alumni Creamery began as a shared dream between Myers and his wife, Julianna.
“We got the idea when we first moved to St. George from Provo,” Julianna Myers said, among the din of joyful, chatty customers. “I knew from the beginning that we’d be starting businesses. We had a nostalgic feeling about the creamery. I thought: We need this here.”
Traditionally, Myers would make an annual trip up to Provo to indulge in what has become a comfort food for he and Julianna.
“Just before Thanksgiving, I’d run up there and get eight three-gallon tubs,” Myers said. “We’d eat it throughout the holiday season, and run out around New Year’s Day.”
The couple met in a religion class during their junior year at BYU. Myers, a political science major, said he was immediately drawn to Julianna, who was studying exercise science at the time.
“I asked her if she worked at the Post Office,” Myers said, laughing. “That was my pick up line.”
Julianna saw past Myers’s momentary lapse in smoothness, and saw an undeniable chemistry.
“I knew from the first date that, if we kept seeing each other, we’d be married,” she said. “We just clicked.”
The grand opening marked another milestone for the Myers family. Their daughters — Eyla, 13, and Raya, 12 — would begin their working lives. Eyla as manager, and Raya as associate. Eyla fielded an inquiry about whether they were still hiring.
“We aren’t hiring right now,” Eyla said. “But if you’ve got a resume, I’ll keep it on file.”
Of course, the young man, who couldn’t have been more than 14, was holding a mint-chocolate chip ice cream cone in lieu of a resume. When asked what Eyla was looking for in potential new-hires, she took on a more serious air.
“You have to be able to work well under pressure,” she said. “You’ve got to be nice in the interview, and on the floor. You’ve got to get your work done, and be chill about it.”
She was speaking from experience, as she adapted to her new job moment by moment.
“At one point, I looked up, and the line was out the door,” Eyla said. “I thought: How are we going to keep up? But I kept my head, and so did my crew. They’re all great.”
As the sun set, business showed no sign of slowing. By 5:30 p.m., the shop had made 159 sales, and there was still five-and-a-half hours before closing time.
All the while, Myers played the background, beaming with pride, as he watched his family work together to ensure the business operated smoothly.
“This is what it’s all about,” Myers said. “We want to serve the community. I want my girls to have this experience. We want to have fun while earning a living.”
Julianna said the experience reminded her of her job from back when she was in high school.
“I worked at a shake shop with my friends,” Julianna said. “It was so much fun, and we made such great memories.”
Of course, the grand opening of Alumni Creamery stirred up mixed emotions for Julianna.
“I was excited and worried as the day began,” she said. “But as the day has gone by, I feel more and more happy with the way things are going. Really, it has been way more fun than I expected.”
Still, she hasn’t lost sight of the prize.
“As time passes, I hope that our crew can handle the daily operations, so that Perry and I can sit back and enjoy being owners.”
She may get her wish. A successful business needs a loyal clientele, and the broader the base, the better. By plugging into the BYU community, they have an opportunity to serve a demographic that transcends generations … and geography.
Sue Thompson, for instance, graduated from BYU in the 1960’s with a degree in sociology. As she stood in line, she chatted with her fellow customers.
“This reminds me of BYU Creamery in the old days,” Thompson said. “I’ve got so many good memories from that time in my life. Not the least of which is the mint chocolate chip brownies. Now we get to share this with everybody here. We’re so happy to have this shop here in our neighborhood.”
Outside the shop, 13-year-old friends Danny Brinton and Alex Smith were finishing up their cones. Brinton, who is originally from Chicago, said that both of his parents were BYU alumni so he felt a real sense of pride in having a BYU Creamery right down the block.
“I’ve had this ice cream on the BYU campus,” Brinton said. “I remember going there with my mom and dad. It’s better than the Red Barn and Dairy Queen. It’s the best ice cream around.”
Alumni Creamery is located at 3392 S. 3000 East, Suite A103 in St. George, and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
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