Happy Trails offers ice cream and nostalgia to Creston

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Michele Staggs shows off a tasty treat from her new shop

There’s a new way to beat the heat downtown this summer — a treat from Happy Trails is sure to deliver a cooling wave of relief on even the hottest day.

The ice cream shop opened just before the May long weekend, and in addition to ice cream treats, offers a hint of nostalgia, with posters of 1950s icons Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe keeping an eye over the shop.

“We did grow up loving Elvis and Marilyn and the Big Bopper and the whole Happy Days scene,” said Michele Staggs, who owns the shop and its companion, Buffalo Trails Coffee House, next door. “And the whole ’50s vibe goes hand-in-hand with ice cream.”

The icons’ presence fits in well with the décor, which is primarily red and white, with a black and white-checked floor. The seating is also red, with a red bench on one wall and two red stools evoking memories of Staggs’ childhood.

“There was a restaurant in my hometown with a whole row of them along the lunch counter,” she said.

The mother of three, who also runs Duck Lake Bison Farm with her husband, Chad, came to Creston about 10 years ago, having been born and raised in Alberta, where she owned a convenience store.

Happy Trails’ home at 1215 Canyon Street is conveniently beside Buffalo Trails, which Staggs opened in December 2008.

“I really like the corner location,” said Staggs. “It seems like the perfect place for an ice cream shop — a fun little place to come in the summer.”

As for the product, it was an easy choice. Happy Trails carries 16 flavours from Foothills Creamery, including one sugar-free flavour and one sorbet (dairy-free).

“Everyone loves ice cream,” she said. “Also, I wanted to do something incorporating the other store, so we have gourmet ice cream sandwiches — you come in and pick the cookies, which we also sell next door, and the ice cream that goes inside.”

The most popular flavours are maple walnut and New York cherry cheesecake, selected from the several dozen available from Foothills, and one lady, Staggs said, comes in regularly for the Shirley Temple flavour.

It all comes in regular cones, waffle cones (hand-dipped in chocolate and nuts or sprinkles) or pretzel cones, with complimentary sprinkles, and may even be used in a float made with cola, root beer, or orange or grape soda.

There’s also the Sundae Smash, unique to Happy Trails, which consists of two layers of ice cream “smashed” into three respective toppings.

And if that’s not enough, all-natural lemonade, salt water taffy, retro candy and popcorn are also on the menu.

Barely a month after Happy Trails opened, Staggs already has regular customers of all ages, and while she enjoys them all, she’s thrilled to see the reactions of youngsters.

“I think it’s cute that kids are so excited about it,” she said.

Shortly after the shop opened, Staggs was surprised when a child pointed at her downtown and said, “Mom, that’s the ice cream lady!”

And another said what ice cream lovers all over Creston are hoping.

“This one little girl came right up to my leg, looked at me with these big eyes and said, ‘I hope all the success with your business.’ ”