This summer, the College welcomed the well-known local ice cream vendor, Lickety Split, back to Spring Street. The business disappeared one year ago when its previous lease expired. However, under a new 90-day lease program through the Denison Gate House across the street from Tunnel City Coffee, Lickety Split has made its triumphant return to downtown Williamstown.
Robin Kanelos, manager of Lickety Split, worked with the College to orchestrate the move. According to Fred Puddester, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, former patrons were an important factor in the College’s decision to help the business. The administration “heard from many students, local residents and alumni about how they hoped Lickety Split could return to Spring Street.”
Due to this communal support, the administration included Lickety Split in a program that hopes to help businesses get off the ground and introduce new stores into downtown Williamstown.
“What we implemented this summer was the concept of a ‘pop up’ store at the Denison Gate House. It is a place where a merchant can try out an idea for a short period of time to test the level of interest in their business. Our concept calls for 90-day trial periods, after which the merchant can decide whether they want to explore a more permanent solution. That could be in one of the College’s buildings or with another landlord in town,” Puddester explained. Lickety Split is the first to try out this program.
“The model of pop-ups is becoming the way a lot of towns are dealing with spaces they have available, but without the long-term commitments that can sometimes sink a business that doesn’t have its footing yet,” said Steve Klass, vice president for Campus Life. “Using this to bring back a beloved institution here, Lickety Split, on a short-term basis in the season where ice cream is actually devoured, was a good model, and it will be interesting to see where it goes and what other businesses are interested.”
As for the future of Lickety Split, Kanelos is still unsure. Since the program is for a rotating lease of only 90 days, she admits to having considered other locations for a more permanent address on Spring Street, and while “nothing is set yet, we’re working on what to do. Hopefully [Lickety Split] can be back here every year,” she said. However, she acknowledged that if this is not a possibility, the ice cream parlor will at least “come back every spring and through the whole summer.”