Granite Falls ice cream shop hopes to bring music, conversation and community together

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– Teenagers on skateboards slide for ice cream cones, shakes and malts and to enjoy lots of jokes. Their cell phones are nowhere to be found.

– Grandparents guide their grandchildren to the same candy store, with older people enjoying vintage rock ‘n’ roll music as much as one-on-one chats with their young children.

– A group of women enjoying a weekend camping adventure learn about the Ice Cream Shop, its’ 50s theme and music, and the friends engage in an impromptu dance while enjoying their treats.

The boutique is a taste of time in downtown Granite Falls, where Debbie Eakes and her stepdaughter and co-manager Karina Eakes witnessed all of the above and more in the first summer of activity. of the shop.

This is exactly what the Eakes were hoping to see. The thought process behind this business, Debbie Eakes explained, was to provide a place where young people could engage and have fun, and where families could do the same.

In addition to frozen treats, A Taste In Time offers a menu of sandwiches, soups and salads made to order.

“When we say salads, we mean salads,” Debbie said, pointing out that each one is made with a spring mix of lettuce and as many fresh veggies as we can put in a bowl.

Eakes and her husband, Mark, a doctor at Avera Granite Falls, are parents and grandparents. They had observed that their own children often left town for something to do and decided that an ice cream shop was a step towards bettering their community.

They also hope that this ice cream shop can benefit from a much larger mission. It was established as a non-profit organization with the hope that it will eventually prove profitable and generate income for El Nido’s Birth and Family Ministries (The Nest).

Originally created in 2006, El Nido is the passion of the couple. Debbie Eakes’ own life experiences have led her to dedicate herself to serving young mothers and families as a midwife. El Nido also contracts with other midwives, doulas, and counselors to help young mothers with everything from healthy food choices during pregnancy to breastfeeding. She also encourages growth in Christ as a Christian.

El Nido serves young women and families in an area stretching from southwestern Minnesota to eastern South Dakota and all the way to Hutchinson.

Debbie and Mark Eakes married in 1990 after meeting in Chula Vista, Calif. While serving as a Navy officer. With a master’s degree in engineering, Mark had a 20-year career in the Navy before entering medical school. In 2014, he obtained a doctorate in medicine and a master’s degree in public health.

Seven years ago, the couple and their children made their home in Granite Falls when Mark accepted his position with the Granite Falls Medical System.


Karina Eakes, left, and her stepmother, Debbie Eakes, right, share the management duties of A Taste In Time in Granite Falls.  They are presented in March 2021 as the business is ready to open.  The Southwest Initiative Foundation supported the company with a microcredit for the cost of renovating the building.  The funds are part of the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.  Contribution to the Fondation Initiative du Sud-Ouest.

Karina Eakes, left, and her stepmother, Debbie Eakes, right, share the management duties of A Taste In Time in Granite Falls. They are presented in March 2021 as the business is ready to open. The Southwest Initiative Foundation supported the company with a microcredit for the cost of renovating the building. The funds are part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. Contribution to the Fondation Initiative du Sud-Ouest.

Opening a Taste In Time has been a journey of almost five years.

Debbie Eakes said they initially hoped to open it in a downtown building that once housed a movie theater, but found it would be too expensive to rehabilitate that building. A retired electrician donated the building that now houses the ice cream shop to El Nido’s birth and family ministries just months before his death. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the work of its rehabilitation, but everything happened last spring and the store opened its doors.

Family members and five part-time employees work in the store. Help is very important to Debbie and Mark Eakes as they dedicate a lot of time to the work of El Nido. Debbie’s midwifery duties can require long sleepless nights. Her husband juggles a demanding schedule as a birthing doctor.

While they sometimes hear people asking them how they’re handling all of this, Debbie Eakes said they didn’t feel overwhelmed by any means. “For us, it has always been a passion that we knew we wanted to do,” she said. “This is what we wanted to do. “

Debbie Eakes said she estimates that about a third of customers are visitors who discover the store while exploring downtown Granite Falls. A growing arts scene, a popular popcorn stand, and the tranquil scenery of the Minnesota River in the downtown area draw every visitor.

Of course, the scoops of ice cream and the lunchtime menu attract many locals who don’t need to be introduced downtown. What Debbie Eakes said she appreciated the most was the fact that most customers seem to put their phones away and enjoy each other’s company when they are in the store, just like she did. originally hoped for.

Its 1950s theme and decor is based on her recollection of the Corvettes, an ice cream shop she frequented as a youth in San Diego, California. The San Diego store featured waitresses dressed in 1950s clothing who slapped their gum and treated customers with a California “attitude” that Eakes said she was not yet ready to present to her customers in the United States. Minnesota.

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A Taste In Time is open from 11:30 am to 7 pm Wednesday to Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday; and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.


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