When a DeWitt landmark business, Cups & Cones, opened April 4, Mother Nature was not feeling too accommodating.
But much to the delight of the business’ new owners, Jason and Cathy Meinsma, of DeWitt, community members certainly were.
It was a cold, cloudy Monday — not exactly ideal ice cream-eating weather. But that didn’t deter customers of all ages from lining up for their first scoops and sips of the 2022 season.
“Everyone has been so great,” Jason related. “Even with the terrible weather. The community has been really supportive, right from the start.”
The Meinsmas, who have lived in DeWitt for almost eight years, officially took over ownership Nov. 1, 2021.
Everything seemed destined to come together for the couple, who have two sons, 4-year-old Weston and 2-year-old Oliver.
Cathy purchased Schuster & Co. — now Schuster & Meinsma — last fall. Cathy is a certified public accountant who had been with the company for a few years.
Jason was looking for an investment of his own, and said he always had aspired to own a restaurant/bar and grill.
After he and Cathy talked with previous Cups & Cones owners, Scott and Amy Breder, of Eldridge, Jason knew he’d found what he’d been looking for.
“We like to support the community,” he said. “It’s somewhere our boys can work when they’re older. We know it’s a major landmark in DeWitt, and it’s a business we can keep for a really long time, even after we retire.”
While Cathy works full-time in the accounting business, Jason also works full-time as a sales manager for Danielie Corp., which sells steel mill equipment.
But Jason said while he is at Cups & Cones on weekends and checks in at the end of each work day, he and Cathy rest easy knowing the business is in good hands.
“We only had to hire four people,” he related. “Everyone else came back, including multiple employees who have been working there for multiple years.”
When it comes to making changes, Jason said he already has made strides to expand the grill menu. In addition to a new grilled chicken sandwich and a Buffalo sauce good for putting on sandwiches or for dipping, Cups & Cones now also offers salads and other healthy options.
The new menu also features a kid’s meal, which comes with an ice cream token good for a one plain mini cup or cone.
In terms of the exterior of the building, Jason said he has lots of ideas as to how he can return the building to its former glory.
“I’m big into the ‘50s era stuff,” he noted, which is evidenced by the 1951 Ford Custom Coupe he drives. “It’s just fun. I’m thinking of hanging some speakers outside and playing ‘50s-themed music. Before it was Cups & Cones, it was the Tastee Freeze, and the original colors were red, white and blue. Eventually, I want to repaint everything in those colors. I’ve got a lot of ideas, but we’ll take it slow. I don’t want to do anything major, but I do hope to draw more people into town to help all the businesses here.”
While the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative for the first month or so, Jason said he and Cathy are thankful to all those who are devoted to supporting the business.
“We’d like to thank the community as a whole,” he shared. “We know how much (Cups & Cones) means to the people here, and we just really appreciate the community support … it’s really been unbelievable.”