My family and I moved to Jacksonville, FL from upstate New York in the summer of 2005. I was a music teacher starting a new job at Riverside Presbyterian Day School and my wife Deanne was a stay-at-home mom raising our two young sons and running an online business.
The first big event at my new job was the “Sundae Monday” ice cream social. This was the first get-together of the school year, the day before classes started. It gave the incoming students and their parents a change to come and tour the school, meet their new teachers, and see the classrooms. Of course ice cream was the main snack that afternoon with boat-loads of whipped cream and toppings! During the event I mentioned to a colleague of mine how much I loved ice cream. Her answer will stick with me forever:
“Have you ever been to Dreamette?”
I had not—I didn’t even know what it was. She went on to tell me that Dreamette was “the best ice cream in Jacksonville” and “such a fun, nostalgic environment.” Later that week I drove to Dreamette in Murray Hill to see what all the gushing was about. I saw the tall hand-painted “Dreamette” sign towering above a small 700 square-foot building with blue and white awning. It reminded me of a little ice cream shop I’d see on a black and white TV show from the 50’s! The little shop was started in 1948 and going stronger than ever! I stood in line and ordered some ice cream… and WOW was it good! I also remember being impressed with the prices (surprisingly low) and the serving size (surprisingly big). The taste took me back to my childhood… soft ice cream is my absolute favorite!
The next day in school I mentioned to my colleague that I had stopped by Dreamette. “Did you see Denise there? She and her husband own it.” Denise Kelly was a first grade teacher at my school and her husband AL worked in the Jacksonville police department. They had recently purchased Dreamette and were running it very successfully. I went to Denise’s classroom after-school to chat. She told me that she really enjoyed owning Dreamette and it was good to be able to work with family members.
That fateful conversation was over 15 years ago and actually planted the seed of an idea in my mind that someday it would be cool to own an ice cream shop. Little did I know then that in 2022, my wife and I would be opening up my own Dreamette just over the St. Johns River in Historic San Marco.