By Jerry Lynott, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — The ice cream trailer Kevin and Kacy Manning have been towing around for two years led them to a familiar place.
The couple will soon set up shop in the Midtown Village downtown and sell ice cream by the scoop, milk by the jug, and ice cream pie by the slice. The brick-and-mortar store will be their first, but they’re no strangers to the hyphenated city.
“We started doing all this stuff in Wilkes-Barre,” Kevin Manning said Friday, going through the list of outdoor events they’ve been at on Public Square — the Farmers Market, the Fine Arts Fiesta — and the Cherry Blossom Festival and Fourth of July celebration at Kirby Park.
“It’s not even a recent thing,” said Manning, 36, the youngest of three brothers whose family has a dairy farm in North Abington Township in Lackawanna County.
Manning and his wife were searching for locations and chose the spot formerly occupied by What the Fork after someone tipped them off to it. Somebody called his parents to tell them their ice cream does great at the Fine Arts Fiesta and there was space in a plaza downtown, Manning said.
“They made us look. You’ve got the (YMCA). You’ve got the businesses. You’ve got Wilkes and King’s,” he said.
In addition to the schools, thousands of people work downtown and developers have been converting nearly vacant high-rise bank buildings into luxury apartments and condominiums.
The family has been selling milk and ice cream from the farm and three other locations in Scranton and Dunmore. But Manning said his parents who are in their 70s are not interested in expanding the business. That set the wheels in motion for him and his wife to go mobile with the trailer.
The Wilkes-Barre store will be like the other Manning stores but different in some ways.
“It isn’t owned by Manning Farm Dairy,” Manning said. It won’t be cash only and will accept credit and debit cards.
And one more thing:
“We’ll be doing ice cream pie by the slice,” Manning said. It’s been a hit at a store in Jim Thorpe, and he and his wife will be offering it at theirs, Kevin and Kacy’s Ice Cream Shoppe. Other offerings will include 48 flavors of ice cream, shakes, sundaes and ice cream cakes.
Workers were busy Friday laying down a new floor. After that, some walls will be put up. “I’ve got all the equipment ready to move in,” Manning added.
They’d like to swing open their doors by Nov. 1, but that’s being optimistic, he acknowledged. They would have liked to have opened during the summer, but they just couldn’t make it happen.
The plan is to be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. year-round.