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The Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 1:25 PM CDT
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Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

LAKE MARTIN, Ala. (WBRC) - Richard Owens is a retiree with nine grandchildren, but not too long into his retirement two of his grandsons had an idea. The results of that idea can be seen and heard every day on the waters of Lake Martin.

Now, we’re invited to come aboard The Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop for a smiling summer adventure.

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

Richard remembers, “My grandsons Hamilton and Jackson, called me and they said, ‘Grandpa, we got the best job for you on the pontoon boat.’ And I said, ‘What’s that?’ They said, ‘Selling ice cream!’”

So, this is a story about family and summer days on the lake, but it’s also the story about memories and yellow tops and ice cream.

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

Jackson picks up the story, “I said, ‘Grandpa’s looking for something to do, let’s give him an ice cream boat.’”

“At first, I was like, he isn’t going to start this. It’s just one of those ideas that never happens and then it actually happened!”

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

But there was a catch as Richard told his grandsons, “All right now. I’ll think about it but if I do, y’all are going to have to work the ice cream. No more swimming in the water and fishing. We’re selling ice cream. They said, ‘OK we will.’”

True to their word, Jackson and Hamilton are now First Mates on board The Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop helping Richard and their grandmother Julie deliver lots of smiles to their friends and neighbors on Lake Martin.

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

Jackson explains their part on board, “The promise that I made was I will come down there and help, but I also made that promise with my dog and it never happened, but I’ll do anything for ice cream.”

Grandpa Richard explains from the beginning, The Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop has been a family affair. “My two grandchildren that go to college at Auburn, Micha Bartlett and Makenzi Bartlett, they were visiting at the camper, and we were trying to debate what we were going to name this ice cream shop and so they looked out at the pontoon boat and said, ‘What about The Yellow Top?’ Because we had one Bimini top on it that was yellow and we said, ‘OK. That sounds good!’”

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

Soon, says Richard, The Yellow Top Ice Cream Show became a boat with a mission, “We chose early on to support the Children’s Harbor with free ice cream for the campers and the workers as God provided. We are having a great time but it’s not about making the money as it is about making the memories and being a blessing to other folks.”

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

In addition to memories, there are also benefits for Hamilton and Jackson who say, “We get the tips and then we force them to pay us. But we also eat the ice cream.”

Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop
Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop(WBRC)

So, if you’re on Lake Martin this summer and hear a familiar tune, come on down. It’s The Yellow Top Ice Cream Shop and it’s Absolutely Alabama.

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