If you're traveling in West Statesville down Sharon School Road, your eyes will probably travel towards a colorful sign for Riley's Delights. If you go in you’ll probably notice that while ice cream is the heart of their business, their vision is much bigger.
Jessica Wiggins has grown up in the community and her partner James Knight has lived there for over 30 years. They decided they wanted to start a business that would bring the community together, and figured something that always draws people together is ice cream.
James said, "It makes everybody smile".
"It makes everybody happy. People come in happy, they get happier when they are here, and leave with bigger, better smiles, ” Jessica added.
There's another reason ice cream was special to the couple. After World War II James's grandfather James Riley (for whom he was named) started a fleet of ice cream trucks in Florida. He had 27 ice cream trucks. Pictures from this time are on the wall and they can tell you the stories behind each.
The couple made sure there is something there for everybody. They chose Hershey ice cream as the base of their business. They have 24 flavors of ice cream and sherbert in the front freezers and often have a few other flavors in a freezer in the back. They have several sugar free ice creams and if you want something dairy-free, for example, and don't see it in the front cases, ask. They just may be keeping some in that other freezer for you.
They make natural fresh fruit smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and also protein drinks. They can add a shot of protein to any milkshake to make it more of a meal. They also offer cookies, pies, brownies, cobblers, and cake. They have homemade chips, pickles, and local honey. They also have other snacks and glass-bottled drinks.
They try to keep things local as much as possible, and have used local folks to do everything from creating their signs, t-shirts, tumblers, and to bake their cookies.
“Everyone is just all coming together, ” said Jessica, and that falls in with their goal to build up their community.
“We want a place where everyone in the community can gather, ” says Jessica. They sponsor things like a Sunday afternoon cruise-in and have even sponsored live music.
Both James and Jessica work full-time jobs, but try to be at the shop as often as possible so they can see what resonates with their customers. They listen to what people want and do their best to provide it. During the seven weeks they have been open, the community has been learning they are there and are supporting their efforts.
Riley's Delights is located at 562 Sharon School Rd., right off the I-40 exit, and is open for business Monday through Thursday from 3-8 p.m., Friday from 3-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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