The Herald Bulletin

April 20, 2013

Business Profile: Scream for ice cream

TJ’s Ice Cream Plus adds drive thru, menu options

By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin

Name of business: TJ’s Ice Cream Plus

Location: 2630 Broadway, Anderson

Owners: Teresa and Jerry Alexander

Opened: 2010

Hours: Spring: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Summer: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Serves: Homemade sandwiches, sides, soft-serve yogurt and hand-dipped ice cream.

In the owners’ words: Teresa Alexander has a lot of warm, fuzzy memories connected to cold ice cream.

Watching friends gather after summer ball games to eat sundaes and waffle cones at TJ’s Ice Cream Plus, “It is wonderful to see people smile,” she said, “And to see ice cream all over the face of a child or an adult and know that they really enjoyed what they ate.”

TJ’s opened in 2010 at 2630 Broadway, named for Teresa and husband, Jerry. She’s the “T,” he’s the “J.”  

The concession stand-style shop — which opened for the season Friday — is best known for its hand-dipped Ashby Sterling ice cream, soft serve yogurt and sandwiches, notably the “The Best Tenderloin in town,” Teresa said.

This year, the Alexanders are adding a whole slew of menu items, including some new sundae options, old fashioned sodas, hot and cold lattes and coffees specially blended by Muds. There are also some news savory options, including Polish sausage, hamburgers, veggie burgers, tater tots and something called “TJ’s Taco in a Bag.”

“You will not be disappointed in the ice cream or the food,” Teresa said. “We try to specialize in things that you cannot get anywhere else.”

Customers can order using the traditional walk-up method, or have it brought to them via the newly-added Bickel’s Catering, managed by daughter Angi, which caters business meals, weddings, receptions and other events with ten or more people.

For yet another ordering option, pull up to the brand new drive thru window.

The Alexanders got the idea at the National Ice Cream Association Annual Conference last year, Jerry said, where they heard a drive thru could increase over-all sales by over a quarter.

“We felt for us that increase in sales would enable us to make a profit,” Jerry said.

Since TJ’s food is made fresh, the new window is more for convenience than speed, Teresa said.

“We are thinking of those that are unable to walk up to the window,” she said, “those that are tired, those with a handicap, the ones that don’t want to get wet when it is raining and those that don’t like the cold air or wind when the weather is not ideal.”

Of course, it would also be convenient in summer, when it’s hot and you need a fast ice cream fix, she said.

Speaking of a “fast ice cream fix” — how’s about devouring 15 scoops in 20 minutes? Well then step right up for the TJ’s Belly Buster Challenge — also new this year.

Challengers who beat the clock get their dish and its bowl free, in addition to a T-shirt (and a massive brain freeze).