Ligonier Creamery partners with students for RAMS project
Ligonier Creamery reopened for the season on March 1, although wintry weather conditions did not provide the perfect environment for ice cream.
Owner David Gehlman opened the ice cream shop on East Main Street May 1, 2012. The creamery, open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, offers 100 flavors of hand-dipped premium ice cream, said Gehlman who also has a store that he has operated for nine years in Johnstown.
“I researched the area and the local customers as well as tourists and I felt this community was looking for my product,” he said. “This is a great fit for the area for the locals and the tourists. And, the ice cream is priced for the locals to enjoy.”
The Creamery offering includes cones, shakes, floats and sundaes with a focus on specialty sundaes.
This year Gehlman will participate in the Recognizing Amazing Merchants and Students marketing venue initiated last year with the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce and Ligonier Valley School District students. The program will kick off in May with many Ligonier merchants and restaurants featuring the student-made products in their shops.
“This is an extension of the R.A.M.S. program,” said Annie Urban owner of AMICA a participating merchant and president of the chamber of commerce. “It's just another way to encourage people to buy local. You can't get much more local than offering a product created by our students.”
Food and nutrition class students in grades 10 through 12 will prepare brownies for the ice cream shop that will be blended into a new signature Rocky Road Rams hand-dipped flavor. Gehlman said he will also offer a Rocky Road Rams sundae as well.
“It will be a limited edition flavor,” said Gehlman.
Elizabeth Campbell Family and Consumer Science teacher at the high school for the past 20 years said it is a great way to connect the school with the community.
“It is a great opportunity for kids to understand what all goes into making something for somebody else,” she said. “There are rules to abide by when making a product for public consumption.”
Campbell said she contacted Gehlman last fall about working together after he reopened for the season this spring.
Campbell said the project ramps up the students' level of accountability.
“It makes them be aware that what they are doing reflects on the high school and the merchant. It becomes more important to them,” she said.
Gehlman said he is looking forward to kicking off the project and is always looking for other ways to become more active in the community.
“I try to bring community-involvement as much as I can into my business,” he said. “Some of the kids from the high school work here for me.” He said he is already planning other community fundraising partnerships for later this summer.
“Our first year was a great success,” he said. “I am pleased with the community support. I am looking forward to seeing the regular customers returning this year.”
The Creamery's slogan is “Ice cream so good, it is served on a Diamond and guarded by a fort.”
He said he created the catchy phrase as a way to promote the area and promote the fort.
“It ties the neighborhood together,” he said.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.