PIKEVILLE -- Heard the latest scoop?
A new ice cream shop has opened on the main street of Pikeville, arriving just in time to quench effects of the recent heat wave.
The move made perfect sense to owner Desiree Autrey, double dipping at the location she already operates her dance studio out of, in the space where she introduced a coffee shop in 2015.
Java Hut has been renamed Java Hut and Creamery. It is located at 109 Railroad St.
She enlisted the aid of longtime friend and business partner John Gerken, who had also been her business teacher at Southern Wayne High School.
Like Autrey, he is a veteran entrepreneur -- now teaching carpentry at Southern Wayne and operating his own construction business for years. So naturally, he put his talents to use converting the coffee shop to accommodate the new menu.
He "pretty much did everything," she said, from the remodeling and painting to new decor and work on outside seating area.
"We basically took an old warehouse building that was used for storage and turned it into a new store," he said. "We're just trying to revitalize the downtown."
That spirit was inbred from childhood, he said, recalling his father often encouraged him to pursue his dreams and goals.
"He used to tell me, the most successful people in this world are the ones who get out of bed early," he said. "Everywhere I go, I have that entrepreneur frame of mind -- what can I do? What can we do?"
He's usually on the road every morning at 5 a.m., prompting an observation as he travels through Goldsboro -- lines of cars wrapped around a popular national coffee chain.
Why, he thought, some of those people could very well be from Pikeville.
"We want to be northern Wayne County's Starbucks," he said of his latest venture with Autrey. "We have coffee drinks, lattes, cappuccino. We're really going to push that in the fall and maybe have curbside drive-through.
"There's really nowhere on this side of the county like this."
The idea to add on the ice cream component came when Autrey and Gerken discovered Simply Natural Creamery ice cream.
"We saw this ice cream last year and wanted to go on a tour of the place (in Ayden)," Gerken said. "We loved the ice cream every time we had it."
It is considered a super premium ice cream, unique because it is made from Jersey milk that comes from Jersey cows. The nutrient-dense Jersey milk has greater nutritional value than milk.
"It's the Cadillac of milk," said Autrey.
The shop features a rotation of 10 flavors, including butter pecan, apple dapple, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream and chocolate chip cookie dough. Also on the menu are waffle cones, milkshakes -- Monday is "Milkshake Monday," offering $1 off each milkshake -- and options for indoor or outdoor seating, as well as cornhole played on the sidewalk out front.
"We're going to start having live entertainment and karaoke, too, very soon," Autrey said.
"We've got big plans for the future," Gerken added.
The business is open Monday through Wednesday and Saturday from noon until 7 p.m., Thursday noon until 8:30 p.m., and Friday from noon to 9 p.m.
"We stay open late on Friday to accommodate the auction (downtown) crowd and eventually the (Charles B. Aycock High) home football crowd in the fall," Gerken said.