Forty Flavors of AuGres
April Thompson

As I approach Zanner's Ice Cream Shoppe fond memories instantly fill my mind. As a child, the excitement the shoppe filled me with was overwhelming. For many people in AuGres, this is their favorite place to go in the summer. After winning a tee-ball or softball game, it is a tradition for the players to go to Zanner's for a tasty ice cream cone to celebrate their victory. As I got older, I also worked two summers at Zanner's. Throughout the years, this building has had a long and interesting past.

From stamps to antiques to ice cream, this building has played an important role in the community of AuGres. It was built in 1885 out at Point AuGres, but at that time it was a post office. In 1932, the building was moved into the center of town and still served the purpose of delivering and receiving mail. In 1953, it became an antique store after being vacant for four years. In the year of 1970, a tasty treat took over, something that most people love: ice cream. That's when Zanner's Ice Cream Shoppe began.

Walking towards the entrance, I remember back in the summer when I worked for hours making waffle cones. The waffle cone smell still comes to me, even though the sweet aroma no longer lingers in the fall air. Zanner's is located on the corner of Mackinaw and US-23, at the blinking light. This building is somewhat rugged with a parking lot big enough for three cars. It's a small, two-story building with a roofed porch. It looks like an old farm house, but much smaller. It's easy to see, from the outside, that the wood used to make this business has been through many different seasons, and the color is now a pale gray.

The first sight of the porch is dull with two green benches on each side of the door. The border on the window that was painted white quite some time ago has almost chipped away. Inside each of the windows I can see identical signs that are in the shape of ice cream cones that say the shop is closed. Beside the door, the two metal numbers indicating the address are falling off and have a gap between them, showing the middle number has already fallen away. There's a light that hangs from the roof above, but it only shines half as bright as a new bulb. The roof is used more for a little shade from the sun than shelter from the rain. The cracks and holes in the wood make it easy for rain to seep through. The floorboards of the porch are stained with thirty years of numerous ice cream cones dripped upon it.

As I enter Zanner's, I notice the door, which is antique itself. The patterns of the boards are uniquely put together with a big letter Z on the front, as for extra security. The door handle looks like a metal handle on a shovel instead of a knob. The other side of the door is repainted with a white background outlining a huge ice cream cone with three scoops. Inside, the place looks poorly renovated. Zanner's has a lingering smell of a sweet waffle cone mix. The main decor colors are red, white, and blue, like our patriotic American Flag. It's cold inside, assuring that fall has come into this place with no heat.

The floor is mad of linoleum that resembles a wooden oak floor that is a little warped and slightly dips down in the back right corner. The white ceiling is built higher than modern days, with supporting boards in the shape of squares. The wallpaper is a tiny blue and white plaid that only reaches half way to the floor because of a plain white base that protrudes into it. Pictures of Zanner's recently, as well as when it was a post office and antique store, fill the walls.

To the right,, in this rectangular building, two petite round tables are surrounded by three metal red and white chairs. I noticed that the tables are unusually clean compared to the summer, when they are always sticky because of ice cream constantly dripped on them. The only window on the right wall is occupied by a brown air conditioner from the 1980s and decorated with a dainty white curtain that matches the curtains in the front two windows. In the right corner, there are stairs that lead to a fairly small room mainly used for supplies in the summer and storage in the winter. The door to the stairs was built with the same old, beaten wood as the rest of the building. Under the stairs hides a bathroom with a red door that reminds me of an airplane bathroom because of its small size.

The back wall contains a newer white air conditioner, white clock, and a few pictures of little two-year-olds eating ice creams and spilling them everywhere. A shelf on the wall holds a special edition radio that still works and dates back to the 1930s. It's a radio that is curved on top, like the one you might see in an old movie such as A Christmas Story.

In the back left corner, a counter was made for a place to write or fill out time cards. On the wall, a door abuts a large metal display with two sinks and many different square holders for all of the delicious toppings. Next to this is another white counter that contains a shake machine, hot fudge warmer, and a blackened waffle cone maker. The wall is decorated with old scoopers and signs of the prices of the cones and all of the forty flavors Zanner's provides. Across from the counter are two long coolers, now empty, and a cash register at the end. A five-cent miniature gumball machine, with many assorted flavors, sits in front of the register. Above the coolers hang two old-fashioned lights. They look like metal lanterns used decades ago, only now a bulb rests where the wick should be.

To the left of the front door, thus bringing us back to the starting point, a small cooler lies blocking a third of the window. A broken slush machine that has a little rack of the six flavors sits between the left wall and the smaller cooler.

Looking around this room, I feel comfortable. This is such a memorable place for me as a child and an adult. I can just imagine what at it would be like walking into this building when it was first built, with the wood being a fascinating brown and the porch a fancy add-on that welcomed the many customers. Being inside this building gets me thinking about all of the different decades of people coming and going. Zanner's has a unique place in AuGres' history, being built twenty years after AuGres was founded in 1865, and still in use to this day!

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