'Sandusky tradition' celebrates 55th year

SANDUSKY Golly Gee is a welcome sight on a hot summer day. Paintings of ice cream san
May 24, 2010



Golly Gee is a welcome sight on a hot summer day.

Paintings of ice cream sandwiches and cones adorn the sides of the ice cream shop, beckoning people to come in for a cool treat.

What better way to celebrate the official start of summer today than with an ice cream cone?

Golly Gee Ice Cream & More has been commemorating the first day of summer for more than 50 years. This year marks the ice cream shop's 55th year in the community, and the owners have a few surprises for their customers.

The shop was known as Dairy Isle when it opened in 1952, and the name changed to Golly Gee in 1970. Dan and Michelle Kaman bought the shop in 1995 and have owned it for more than a decade. The couple is the shop's fourth set of owners.

"It's well-known in Sandusky," Dan Kaman said. "It's a Sandusky tradition."

The shop has undergone a few renovations, but much of the structure is still the same. There is no indoor seating, but six benches line the front and side of the shop and a drive-through window is an option for customers in a hurry.

To help celebrate the ice cream shop's anniversary, the Kamans bought a new ice cream machine that produces eight different "flavor burst" flavors. The flavors -- which vary from the safe choice of strawberry to the crazy choice of bluegoo -- will change with the seasons, said Dan Kaman, who is also ex officio mayor of the city.

Another surprise is 55-cent ice cream cone day, which will be the fifth of every month and a few other selected dates.

The shop is seasonal. It opens March 1 and closes on the last day in September every year.

Ice cream cones, milkshakes, floats and sundaes are just a few cold treats on the menu. The shop also sells hot food including cheeseburgers, hot dogs and sloppy joe sandwiches, which are made from scratch.

Many of the shop's recipes are the originals from 1952, Dan Kaman said. The recipes were handed down from owner to owner.

"People say when Golly Gee opens, it's the start of spring," Dan Kaman said.

Every day this summer Golly Gee will feature two items for 99 cents each. A sign along Perkins Avenue lets customers know what the daily deal is.

"We get regulars," Michelle Kaman said. "Sometimes me and the girls see them coming and know what they want and have it ready for them."

On Wednesday, three boys rode their bikes to the ice cream shop to get their daily dose of cold goodness. It was their second visit to the ice cream shop in two days.

"I get the same thing every time," said 12-year-old Frank Thompson as he sipped on his chocolate milkshake. "Usually I'm here with Spencer," he added.

Frank's friends, 13-year-old Spencer Olds and 12-year-old Mike Schwanger, were enjoying cookie dough flurries outside the shop.

Ice cream, the boys said in unison, is their absolute favorite item at Golly Gee.

Dan and Michelle said they enjoy working at the shop because they get to work with family. Their 17-year-old daughter is a manager, and their 20-year-old son -- who is home from college for the summer -- pitches in when he is needed. Michelle's mother helps out in the kitchen, and her father runs errands. Michelle's sister also works at the shop.

"It's a team effort," Michelle said. "It's fun. It keeps us young."

"It's been a family business per se because families have always owned it," Dan Kaman said.

"It started out as a family tradition and it still is today," Michelle added.