Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

General Store and Eatery set to pick up where Sweet Shop left off

Long-time Sweet Shop owner Trish St. Jean was at her store last week, talking with buyers interested in purchasing the equipment from her ice cream parlor.
She stopped only long enough to confirm she is closing the business that has served ice cream and light fare in the community for 21 years. Attempts to talk with her further about the history of her business and its closing were unsuccessful.
The East Main Street building the Sweet Shop has called home for so many years was donated to the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia by owners Bernard and Audrey Kaiman earlier this spring.
After reviewing their options for the building’s use, the Heritage Alliance Board of Trustees decided to sell the structure. The organization sought sealed bids for the building’s purchase in mid-March. Approximately one month later, the board voted to accept a bid from Lollipop Shop owner Jeff Gurley.
Gurley plans to move his candy store into that location after doing some significant renovation to the structure. He said he offered to allow St. Jean to re-open the Sweet Shop for the remainder of the summer, after necessary roof repairs were made.
St. Jean declined the offer, Gurley said, choosing to go ahead and close her business now.
“There was a provision for the winning bidder, as outlined by the Heritage Alliance, for the current occupant to remain in the building until the end of the year, if she chose to,” Gurley said. “She decided not to stay.”
Despite the closure of the Sweet Shop, the downtown won’t have to do without the frozen confection for very long.
Just down the street, a new ice cream parlor will soon be opening as a “business within a business” at the Jonesborough General Store and Eatery located at 107 E. Main St.
“This is something we always wanted to do,” owner Dean Chesnut said, “but as long as the Sweet Shop was in operation, we didn’t want to cut into someone else’s business.”
Upon learning the Sweet Shop would be closing, Chesnut says he decided the time was right to put an ice cream parlor in the store, which opened less than a year ago in the building that housed the former Cranberry Thistle restaurant.
Chesnut plans to move quickly, saying he hopes to open the parlor in just two weeks.
The new ice cream parlor will offer 12-16 flavors of ice cream with shakes, cones, floats and more.
The General Store and Eatery currently has a soda fountain with stools. However, Chesnut’s plan calls for expanded seating, with the addition of parlor-style tables and chairs.
“We will be bringing in a new authentic soda fountain counter and more stools,” he said. “We want to give people the experience of an old-timey ice cream parlor.”
While he has yet to come up with a name for his ice cream parlor, Chesnut said he will be featuring Kemp’s Ice Cream, made by a Minnesota-based company founded in 1914.