A beloved Concord Pike ice cream shop will continue to delight frozen dessert lovers of all ages thanks to new owners who intend to keep the store’s name and focus.
In January, TSD reported that Sweet Lucy’s owners Gretchen and Ted Brackin had decided to close the shop after a magical thirteen-year run to focus on family and other business commitments.
At that time the Brackins were hopeful the shop would be sold, and today they confirmed that Dan and Megan Hurst, who own and operate three Cajun-Sno snoball trucks in Delaware, have agreed to take over ownership effective February 28th.
The store will remain open through the change of hands, both couples confirmed today. Open now on weekends through the winter months, Sweet Lucy’s will be open seven days a week starting March 1.
Regular patrons of the north Wilmington store with their three young children, the Hurst’s journey to purchasing Sweet Lucy’s began when their five-year-old son Austin first learned about the shop’s plan to close. Saddened to the edge of tears, he had an idea, “Mom,” he said, “can we buy it?”
“Well, maybe. Let’s go talk to daddy,” said Megan.
Father Dan, who works full time on oil refineries and is sometimes gone for six month stretches at a time, leaves most of the Cajun-Sno operations to Megan, who also manages a homemade apple cider donut and apple dumplings business in the winter months. Those donuts and fritters will be some of the new offerings at Sweet Lucy’s going forward.
The Hursts say their decision to take over Sweet Lucy’s is driven by a desire to honor tradition, save a neighborhood landmark and provide memories to other families like theirs who treasured many summer nights enjoying tasty treats on the shop’s picnic tables.
They will keep the store’s original name as well as all of the ice cream and toppings customers have come to love since Sweet Lucy’s opened in 2007.
“We just bought a third food truck in August, so it wasn’t about needing a store. And it’s not about the money. We just didn’t want the community to lose that,” said Dan.
New to the Sweet Lucy’s lineup will be their shaved ice snoballs, a few other treats, and they have big ideas about redesigning the interior space.
“We plan to give it a bit of a facelift with brighter colors, a new menu board, and new seating,” said Megan. Their wildly popular ice cream sandwiches, which are made with chocolate chip cookies made from scratch with Hy-Point ice cream in the middle, will also be on the Sweet Lucy’s menu.
“We like to think of it as Sweet Lucy’s is joining the Cajun-Sno family,” said Dan.
Sweet Lucy’s founder Ted Brackin said news of their shop’s closing struck a chord with several other ice cream retailers, prompting multiple bids for the business.
“It was a tough decision, Brackin said. “But at the end of the day, we hoped the store would continue on in the same spirit that we’ve always run it, and Megan and Dan were just a perfect fit.”
Brackin cited several reasons why they chose to sell to the Cajun-Sno founders including that the Hursts were already in the business and “had a proven recipe for success” and the fact they agreed to keep the staff on and retain the store name. They also liked Megan and Dan’s creative ideas to take the store to a new and better level.
Megan, a fourth-generation Delawarean, graduated from Brandywine High School in 2006. (Her grandfather Joseph Vittilana owns the land at Branmar Plaza along with his siblings.) She met Dan, who is also a volunteer firefighter and a seventh-generation Delawarean, at Hanby Middle School (Concord ’06). He proudly says his grandfather owned Grayson Masonry. “Virtually all of the important stone and brick buildings you see around Wilmington, even the overpasses at Longwood Gardens were built by him,” he says.
Growing up, Dan and Megan both remember making lots of visits to N’awlins Snoballs off of Concord Pike, behind Casapula’s. That store closed ages ago, and once married, the couple thought that one day they might want to start their own snoball business. They launched their mobile business in 2012 and have been serving customers at birthday parties, softball games, swimming pools, fundraisers and food truck events ever since.
Not to be confused with a snow cone, a snoball is made from a giant ice block that is shaved into a fluffy snow-like texture, then covered in savory, made-from-scratch syrups made with real cane sugar. Their website says, “Cajun-Sno’s snoballs are made exactly the way it is done in NOLA!” Snoballs are similar to water ice but are available in multiple flavors in one snoball. Cajun-Sno currently has over 100 flavors.
Back in 2014 while serving customers at the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival, Cajun-Sno’s snowy concoction caught the eye of Anthony Anderson, then host of Eating America on The Food Network, who featured their business on the hit tv program. And Megan, who says she likes to stay busy, adds, “Here’s another Cajun-Sno fun fact: Every year we either get pregnant, have a baby, or buy another trailer for the business.”
After the remodeling effort, the Hursts say look forward to hosting birthday parties and other special occasions at their first storefront location. They also plan to host once a week movie nights outdoors, at the back of the store.
Megan says discussions with the Brackins have gone smoothly ever since she sent her first private message to Gretchen over Facebook. Like the Brackins did for over a decade, the Hursts look forward to carrying on the ice cream and snoball tradition for years to come. “Their hearts (referring to Gretch and Ted Brackin) have been invested in in the shop. They created it out of a love and a passion for not only selling ice cream but to benefit the community too. And that’s just what our family hopes to do.”