BURRELL TOWNSHIP — For this creamery, it’s about more than dishing out the soft serve.
Cornell Creamery is a new self-serve frozen yogurt shop on Cornell Road in Burrell Township that will offer eight flavors daily and a topping bar with various goodies.
But it also will offer sense of family and community, with an outdoor playground, planned movie nights and even a potential indoor playground or children’s discovery center.
Co-owners Phyllis Kendall and Bill Kane welcomed the public with a soft opening on Tuesday to test out the machinery and address any potential issues.
Kendall said the idea for the store came from her husband, Charles, who has been “very helpful” with the startup.
“He really likes ice cream,” she said, adding that while he won’t be working in the store, he has been helping with marketing ideas.
Customers can choose among eight flavors of yogurt at four self-serve machines: currently, low-fat cinnamon; nonfat New York cheesecake; low-fat cake batter; nonfat, no-sugar-added raspberry; low-fat peanut butter; nonfat chocolate classic yogurt; non-dairy orange burst sorbet and low-fat white vanilla yogurt.
From there, add as many toppings as you want, then take it to the scale at the register and pay according to weight.
For the time being, they will offer the same eight flavors, but are accepting feedback and new flavor ideas from customers and the public, and would like to offer a flavor of the week and a flavor of the month down the road. Their website, www.cornellcreamery.com, has a list of potential flavors posted by Charles Kendall. They also will be placing information on their Facebook page “so people can find out what’s going on through those two avenues,” Kane said.
“Switching out flavors and cleaning the machines is still something we’re figuring out,” Kane said.
The dessert may be a big draw for customers, but for Kendall, it was something more.
“Phyllis had a desire to have a place for families to be able to come, and wanted to create a family atmosphere,” said Kane, who will be managing the store. They built a park for the kids, and Kendall and Kane are looking to hold outdoor movie showings during the weekends. “We wanted to have a safe place for kids to play and families to gather.”
“She wanted to be able to do this for her community as a way to give back, and I was the one that was able to help make that happen for her,” he added.
The Kendalls bought the old Cornell’s Dairy Farm last August, Phyllis Kendall said. She and Kane started talking about the idea for a yogurt shop around that time, when they met at a dinner fundraiser, Kane said.
“She shared what she had wanted to do, and I came out to look at (the property) with her, and from there we created this family/community center where kids can play and families can meet,” said Kane, who designed the store.
“He was behind turning the idea of what we wanted to do into the creamery,” said Phyllis Kendall, adding that Kane, who has a background in construction, had designed a few restaurants.
The creamery is located in the old pasteurizing plant where milk was sold, Kane said, adding that they also sell Turner’s milk.
The creamery sits on 3ﾽ acres — plenty of room to grow and provide more activities for members of the community, as Kane said they hope to do.
“We’re wanting to do that for Indiana County and for Blairsville,” he said.
He said the yogurt store “will be an anchor that will allow us to make it happen.” That includes a possible new structure where the old barn used to be located on the property that would house a creation/discovery center or play area for younger kids — Phyllis Kendall’s main focus. She said it might be a year before that prospect comes to fruition.
“I enjoy doing crafts and was hoping to incorporate something for moms and kids,” she said. “I have ideas but I’m not sure how it’s all going to work together.”
“Bill has a lot of great ideas for things to do for the families,” she added, saying the movie night “is the thing we’re going to concentrate on first.”
The Kendalls also own Kencove Farm Fence Inc., but recently handed a lot of the leadership over to their son.
Not yet ready to retire, Phyllis Kendall decided on this endeavor.
“We’ve lived in this community for a long time, and thought it would be nice to give back to the community somehow,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of things for kids to do in this area, and it’s been a dream for quite a long time. Now I have a little bit of time to explore some of those things some more.”
Kendall and Kane are looking to hold a grand opening, but weren’t sure on a date.
“We’re taking it slow, (with) having to learn and get our systems in order,” Kane said.
Currently, hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday, with potential hour extensions during the weekend for movie nights. They are closed Mondays.
Kane said they may stay open year-round with a possible break toward the end of December and early January, and may possibly open early in the morning during the winter to serve coffee and close earlier, but added that it’s too early yet to tell.
Employees consist of Phyllis Kendall, Kane and his wife, two college students, and six to eight high school students who will work during the summer, Kane said, with the boys working around the property while the girls work in the store.
For more information, visit www.cornellcreamery.com or “Cornell Creamery” on Facebook.
PHOTO: Cornell Creamery employees Amanda Borbonus, left, and co-owners Phyllis Kendall and Bill Kane served Vincent Liberty and Steven Kelly, right, at the new frozen yogurt store in Burrell Township.