Missing Stricklands on the west side? Franchise set to open in Fairlawn this summer (2024)

Kerry ClawsonAkron Beacon Journal

Customers who've been missing Stricklands ice cream in Montrose since the location closed in Bath Township in 2020 will be happy to hear that a new Stricklands franchise will open this summer on Akron's west side, in Fairlawn.

Stricklands Fairlawn will be in a quieter spot at 2890 Sand Run Parkway and Merz Boulevard, owned by franchisees Shane and Lindsey Price of Wadsworth. The Prices' Fairlawn location, expected to open in four months, will be Stricklands' fifth franchise location.

Stricklands owner Scott Margroff, a third-generation family member who owns and operates the original, seasonal stand on Triplett Boulevard in Ellet, opened the first Stricklands franchise in 2002 in Cuyahoga Falls, a sit-down spot that operates year-round.

Other franchises are in Streetsboro, which is a seasonal store, and in Costa Mesa, California. which opened this month. A fourth franchise will open this summer in Kent, slated to open in mid-June and run year-round.

Montrose Stricklands story

Stricklands' Montrose spot, which opened in 2001, closed in 2020 after Albrecht Inc., which owns the property, bought out Stricklands' lease.

The year-round Montrose location was very successful, Magroff said, so after it closed, his family planned to open another location on the west side.

"I thought after the pandemic, it'd be very easy to find location. But it wasn't," Margroff said.

As it turned out, Margroff's two daughters who had planned to run a new location on the west side ended up having babies. Fortuitously, just a day after Margroff decided the family would not open another location, Shane Price, who owns EveryRep athletic apparel, called him about opening a Stricklands franchise on the west side.

"I'm a third-generation customer," said Shane Price in an interview March 7 at his future Fairlawn location.

He's been going his whole life to the original Ellet stand, right near the former RCA Rubber, which his great grandfather owned. His parents also have been going to the landmark location since they were kids.

When the Montrose Strickland opened, Shane Price took his sons there all the time, since the shop was just 5 minutes from his Wadsworth home.

"We were bummed when it closed and when we were talking about opening another business, it seemed like a good fit," he said of becoming a Stricklands franchisee.

So why ice cream?

"It makes people happy," said Lindsey Price. "So we both think that that's a good thing to have in your life. It teaches you a lot. I want that. We want that, just seeing the smile on little kids' faces when you finally give them their ice cream. Nothing beats that."

Shane said going to get ice cream with his family in Ellet has created lasting memories. His wife, who grew up in Canton, agreed about the nostalgia of ice cream.

"The best summer memories is going to your local ice cream (place) and getting your ice cream cone," said Lindsey Price.

Stricklands ice cream season has already begun. This year, since Margroff was in California opening the franchise March 1, local Ellet and Streetsboro stands opened a week late, March 8.

No egg in Stricklands' recipe since 2002

Stricklands, which originally started out as frozen custard, has not included egg in its recipe since 2002.

Bill and Florence Strickland — Margroff's great uncle and aunt — founded Stricklands on Triplett Boulevard in 1936, using Bill's carefully formulated frozen custard recipe that included egg whites. In 1942, the eggs were removed due to war rations and stayed out for more than 20 years.

Margroff's father, the late Larry Margroff, brought the eggs back in 1965, when he bought the business from his uncle, Bill Strickland. Soaring egg prices in the 1970s led to eggs being dropped from the recipe again.

Margroff added egg whites back in when he opened the Montrose store in 2001. Customers complained about egg allergens and the frozen custard's slight yellow tint, though, so the eggs were taken out again in 2002 and haven't been reintroduced since.

Back in 1936, Bill Strickland developed an ice cream machine called a batch freezer that froze ice cream quickly while limiting the air whipped into it to 20%.

Stricklands' landmark Ellet location still uses the original 1936 batch freezer, two other handmade ones that soon followed and a newer, reverse-engineer prototype created in 2002. The company reverse-engineered its proprietary batch freezer in order for Stricklands franchises to produce small-batch ice cream with the same taste.

With these machines, Stricklands franchises can make sorbet, yogurt, ice cream and frozen custard with eggs.

"That's kind of the secret I think to the Stricklands' flavor in the business," Shane Price said of the dense ice cream made from the proprietary machines. "That's very exciting to me."

Price's three older sons, 17-year-old twins and a 12-year-old, are excited about their family having an ice cream store, too.

"I'm sure they will be employees here at some point," Shane Price said.

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Work at Fairlawn location

The Prices are now making architectural plans and seeking a conditional use permit from Fairlawn zoning. Construction at the property, which is 1,800 square feet, will include wall demolition and a new tile floor for the space, which was formerly a workout facility.

The couple hasn't decided if their location will run year-round. The ice cream shop will be takeout only.

Shane Price will learn to make Stricklands ice cream during seven to 14 days of training at Margroff's Ellet store. When the Prices open in Fairlawn, Margroff will also send a training team to their store for seven to 14 days.

The Prices said they like their location's parking lot, the lack of congestion and the fact that Croghan Park is a block away.

"It's a little bit more of a relaxed kind of atmosphere over here" compared to Montrose, Shane Price said.

Arts and restaurant writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com.

Missing Stricklands on the west side? Franchise set to open in Fairlawn this summer (2024)
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