O Town Ice Cream has announced major changes for their sweet treat destination including relocating its main shop and adding multiple partnerships so that their ice cream can be found in more locations.
Owners Chris and Angela George announced on the store’s Instagram page that Sunday, June 24, will be the store’s last day in its current downtown Opelika location. Plans are to move the shop to 700 Second Ave., the former home to Bubba’s Pharmacy.
The couple also announced a few locations where O Town will be found as renovations to the new store are completed. Beginning Monday, you can find a permanent O Town cart at Cyberzone.
“Some parents were nudging me like ‘Thanks a lot, now when I have to get ice cream, my kids are going to want to play video games or when they’re in there playing video games, they’re going to want ice cream,’ but I think the partnership there is a good one,” Chris said. “We’re really thankful for Cyberzone inviting us to be a part of what they’re doing inside.”
The store will also have a float boat on Lake Martin the week of July 4. O Town will also be permanently featured under the name of the legendary Sani-Freeze at J&M Bookstore as well as a few pop-up events at Bubba’s Pharmacy.
Many people heard the news of the store relocating and thought it was closing, Chris said.
“We’re having to battle small-town rumors and things like that,” Chris said. “People were telling us ‘Oh, I heard you’re closing,’ but I was like we’re actually doing a lot of stuff that not everyone knows about.”
One of the main reasons for relocating the main location is because O Town was not able to reach an agreement with the previous downtown location’s landlord.
Chris does not blame the landlord for the move. He said, it just made more sense for the business to change locations.
“Downtown Opelika, as a whole, doesn’t have a whole lot of everyday traffic,” Chris said. “It’s amazing for events and when we’re doing different things downtown, but to sustain our business model of selling $3.50 ice cream cones, it’s tough to justify the rent that our landlord was asking for.”
For a number of reasons, the foot traffic has declined over the course of the three years that O Town was in its downtown location, Chris said. He added that there is a larger discussion to have on how to return downtown to its lively atmosphere.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people still, which surprised me, who have heard of us but have never made it down here, and there’s something to be said for that,” Chris said.
O Town will have a similar relationship now with Cyberzone as it had with Red Clay Brewery when O Town was in its infancy.
The owners plan to move into the Second Avenue location as soon as possible, but there is no firm timetable as to how long the process of construction and acquiring permits will take. The store will continue to be mobile and available for events in other locations.