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Valley News Dispatch

Harrison family goes all-in on Tarentum ice cream stand

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Friday, March 30, 2018, 8:45 a.m.
Cindy Hatajik, owner of Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More, is the latest victim of flag thefts with six stolen from her business this week.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Cindy Hatajik, owner of Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More, is the latest victim of flag thefts with six stolen from her business this week.
Chuck Henry, 51, of Kittanning, waits for service outside Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Chuck Henry, 51, of Kittanning, waits for service outside Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Chuck Henry, 51, of Kittanning, gives his order at Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Chuck Henry, 51, of Kittanning, gives his order at Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
The interior of Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The interior of Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Vanilla ice cream is scooped onto a cone at Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Vanilla ice cream is scooped onto a cone at Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More's first dollar is hung on the wall above the cash register in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More's first dollar is hung on the wall above the cash register in Tarentum on Friday, March 23, 2018.

There's a lot of ugliness in this world.

Cindy Hatajik knows something that helps — ice cream!

Hatajik and her family — husband, Bob, and son, Cody Lee, 19 — recently opened Cindy's Soft-Serve, Custard and More across from Dreshar Stadium on First Avenue in Tarentum.

There's a dozen ice creams and three custards, with which Cindy whips up all kinds of sundaes, floats, milkshakes, cyclones and "boats" — like the "Elvis," which features custard, banana, peanut butter sauce, chocolate-covered bacon and whipped cream.

The walk-up eatery also features a variety of food, including burgers, hot dogs, hoagies and pizza.

The "Abundant Joy Burger" — named for her church, Abundant Joy Fellowship — comes with caramelized onions, hot mustard, provolone, lettuce and tomato.

Going into business was a family decision. They rented the building in Tarentum after a deal to buy a place in Harrison fell through.

"We talked about it as a family. We prayed about it a lot," she said. "If God wanted us in this direction, he'd pull us in this direction."

Natives of Harrison, Cindy and Bob will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in May. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Bob Hatajik retired from PPG in East Deer in 2008, where he had worked his whole life.

Cody Lee runs his own concession trailer, "Cody's Cabana," from which he sells festival foods such as funnel cake and fried Oreos. Now, he helps in the kitchen.

"He's got to learn the ropes," his mother said.

Cindy was in nursing from 1985 to 2002. She makes jellies and mustard at home, which she said became a full-time job. They'll be available at the ice cream stand.

"I always wanted to do something like this," she said. "When I put my mind to something, I do it. I'm going to give it my all."

The building in Tarentum, which has been home to a number of businesses over the years, was an empty shell when the Hatajiks got it. They painted everything — changing from green to blue — and bought new equipment.

Cindy expects to hire more people to work with the three of them as business picks up in the summer.

"We're excited," she said. But, also, "I'm scared. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't."

How does she deal with that? "Faith," she said. "I have faith. We all have faith."

She's hoping for success.

"I'm hoping to stay long-term and be able to make it," she said. "I don't like to fail. I don't ever want to fail. I want it to be a staple in the community."

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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