CINCINNATI — The days are getting longer and warmer, and that can only mean one thing . . . Chances are a creamy whip is opening for the season.
"I always love hearing comments from members of our community saying, 'You're such an important part of our community.' And that's one of the nicest things that people can say about our business, because that's what we strive to be," said Kristen Fields, co-owner of Whipty Do! in Maineville.
Fields and her husband, Joe Fields, opened their seasonal soft-serve ice cream shop, Whipty Do!, for drive-thru-only service in mid-February. The shop will open for full service by the first week of April, the Fieldses said.
While this is the twelfth season for the Maineville ice cream shop, Joe Fields said running Whipty Do! never gets old.
"It's just been fun since then," he said. "Each year we come out with new different things."
Whipty Do! employs about 40 high-school-aged staff members to run the shop. Those teenagers also bring an extra level of energy to the place each season, Joe Fields said.
"In a way, I feel like I've stumbled into the Fountain of Youth," he said. "Like, I love working with people at that age of their lives. They are getting ready to go take such a big step forward and find out where they want to go to college."
Sierra Lewis is another seasonal soft-serve ice cream shop preparing to open March 17 for the 2021 season. Lewis said she decided to open Sprinkles last year on a formerly empty parking lot in Goshen based on the prompting of her own teenage children.
"We wanted to do something to make the corner look better and something to kind of embrace the community," Lewis said. "I always enjoyed going to them (soft-serve ice cream shops) myself and my kids actually did a huge part in convincing me that we should do it here as well."
Lewis said she was shocked at how popular Sprinkles was when it opened last year.
"We did not expect to be so popular and embraced so much by the community," she said. "We actually had to upgrade a lot of our machines."
Lewis spent the time between seasons tweaking Sprinkles' menu.
The Fieldses said they are not surprised by Whipty Do! and other soft-serve ice cream shops.
"I would also say just being the nature of ice cream, it's a fun industry," Kristen Fields said. "And for us, we like to reflect that, too."
For the Fieldses, that fun has become generational with some of Whipty Do!'s original employees returning for a cone of ice cream with their own children today.
"They bring them to get ice cream," Joe Fields said. "If for some reason we are not here, they'll take pictures in front of our sign and like send it to us."
Kristen Fields said Whipty Do! also became an escape for people when the coronavirus pandemic began last year.
"People were just so excited, because they said, 'I need my peanut butter beast. This is helping get me through the day. This is what I look forward to,'" she said.
Lewis recommends people try Sprinkles' signature blue-and-purple swirl ice cream cone when the shop opens on March 17.
"We'll be opening at 3 p.m.," Lewis said. "We'll be handing out key chains to the first 100 customers and then we'll have green beaded necklaces for all of the kiddos. Should be a good time."
For a complete list of soft service ice cream shops in Greater Cincinnati, tap here.