St. Helens ice cream shop sees increased demand due to COVID-19
Along Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens, two ice cream cones light up the sky next to a sign that says "Dari Delish."
The ice cream shop offers sweet treats such as ice cream cones, milkshakes and sundaes to-go, all prepared on-site in the turquoise building that's styled like an old-fashioned diner.
With Columbia County in Phase 2 of re-opening due to the coronavirus pandemic and summer in full swing, co-owner Loryn Thurman says business has been booming.
"We've owned the ice cream shop for almost 30 years … (and) I don't think I've ever said that it was a bonus to be a takeout-only place," Thurman said with a chuckle.
Columbia County has been in Phase 2 since Saturday, June 6. This means that certain businesses — including restaurants — must follow physical distancing, gathering size limits and sanitization guidelines.
Other than the public health guidelines listed, Thurman said the ice cream shop is operating like it's "business as usual." She added that she plans on continuing to follow those guidelines even once the outbreak subsides, though.
"It doesn't hurt to be safe and play on the safe side, so you know it's brought us some awareness to things you didn't think about until you were having to deal with this virus," Thurman said.
But her heart goes out to other businesses who have not transitioned as easily during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Our setup for takeout actually has helped us through this," she said. "So, we're very fortunate in that respect … and I'm glad to see other businesses getting busier (because) we're all in this together, and we all root for each other as businesses."
Thurman hopes that Dari Delish's success will encourage business owners as foot traffic increases in the area. It shows that the community is willing to deal with the restrictions and the guidelines so that they can go out and eat and socialize, she added.
The ice cream shop owner has also gotten feedback from customers as they come by for a cone.
"Customers come up, even the young kids, will come and say, 'Thank you for being open,'" said Thurman. "We have the best customers in this community, and they're so supportive."
Thurman is also thankful for her staff for keeping with the increased demand for ice cold treats on a warm day.
"They have been working hard, and we kept them on and hired a couple more, which during this time of the year, we usually do," said Thurman.
Dari Delish is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and open on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1680 Columbia Blvd. in St. Helens.
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