Photo - Lynn Meyers, Owner, with employees Sara Messing and Kandice Olthof (wearing sunglasses).
Summer means ice cream, and in downtown Comstock Park, the go-to place for ice cream is Dairy Delite. The ice cream shop is a harbinger of spring in the community, and people start lining up when it opens in April. “April is actually one of our busiest months,” said owner Lynn Meyers. “People are anxious.”
A trip to Dairy Delite has been a family tradition in the area for nearly a half century, Meyers said noting that people who came to the store as a child are now bringing their children and grandchildren. She bought the storefront ice cream shop at 3950 West River Drive from her brother Randy Wrona in 1997. Wrona had purchased the shop in 1992, and Meyers worked there for three years before buying it. Meyers and her husband have five children who were all in elementary school when they bought the shop. All five have worked there. “That’s kind of why we bought the business,” she said. “So we could employ our children."
Meyers said most of the employees (there are currently six part-time employees) over the years have been family members. Her father and husband do maintenance in the shop, which closes in October.
“Happy” is the operative word at Dairy Delite where a big smile is part of the service to the thousands of people who stop by during the summer. Meyers had red tee-shirts like the employees wear made for customers to buy. The back reads, “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy ice cream, and that’s kind of the same thing.”
Meyers said the corner of West River Drive and Lamoreaux Avenue has been a good location for the business. “It’s a busy street,” she said. “People come over from the (Dwight Lydell) Park…people on the (White Pine) bike path are realizing where we’re at.”
The improvements on the corner made by the DDA when they built the White Pine Trail connector that runs behind the businesses on West River Drive were a boost to Dairy Delite that gained customers from the Trail as well as parking and picnic tables (Meyers added her own red tables).
Dairy Delite was featured on MLive when Hudsonville Ice Cream issued a new flavor called Grand Hotel Pecan Ball to mark the remodeling of the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island. The tiny shop – just about 300 square feet not including an upstairs storage area - was also in the running for a MLive contest for Best Ice Cream in Michigan.
Meyers has changed the menu over the years, discontinuing burgers. Customers can still get hot dogs, chili dogs, and potato chips, but the draw is the 23 flavors of ice cream in all forms - malts, flurries, shakes, soft, in cones or bowls. Meyers said she buys Hudsonville ice cream and Booth Joppe “novelties” such as popsicles and ice cream bars because they are made by local companies. She also makes ice cream cakes to order ahead or to buy on the spot. The homemade waffle cones Meyers started offering last year have been a hit, and the shop serves 30 to 50 waffle cones a night.
Meyers, who grew up on Grand Rapids northwest side, graduated from West Catholic High School and attended what was then Grand Rapids Junior College. She is rarely idle and has a “mini farm” where she raises chickens and tends a vegetable and flower garden. She also enjoys horseback riding, sewing, camping, and volunteers at the Veterans facility in Grand Rapids. She and her husband David Meyers, a supervisor at Steelcase and co-owner of Dairy De-Lite, enjoy family time with their children and two grandchildren as well as traveling in the winter when the shop is closed.