Small Business Spotlight: 33 Shake Shoppe
This month’s Small Business Spotlight was supposed to be about 33 Shake Shoppe, a cute ice cream shop that serves customers in the Hocking Hills. In some ways, it is about the 33 Shake Shoppe but it’s really about something much more than that. It’s about love, partnership, humanity and lessons learned over a lifetime well lived. You see, Mike Bailey has been working for as long as he can remember. For a lot of those years, he was working alongside Joyce, his partner in life and in business.
Just days after we interviewed Mike for this story, Joyce, his wife of 47 years succumbed to cancer. She had battled the disease for years and continued to fight right up until her final days.
The pair met when they were young. The Rockbridge area natives went on their first date at the Ohio State Fair where they took a helicopter ride and ultimately fell in love. They raised a son and twin daughters and did everything as partners. From serving the Lake Erie crowd when running a restaurant on Kelly’s Island to building a successful concessions business in more recent years, Mike said they complimented each other and had a good life.
Their business Bailey Concessions was a passion project for them both. They have trailers they take to fairs and events where they sell classics like lemonade shake-ups, French fries and funnel cakes. They also have popular concessions stands in large venues like Ohio Stadium, the Schottenstein Center, and the Columbus Crew.
“We loved traveling around to different events. Joyce really loved that aspect. She also did all the bookwork for the business and I took care of other stuff. We made a great team and she looked forward to going out with the trailers to the events,” Mike said.
That all became harder with her cancer diagnosis. “She always enjoyed getting out and talking to people so I thought this place was a good fit,” he explained.
Mike bought the 33 Shake Shoppe for Joyce just a few years ago. It was meant to be a place where Joyce could go to socialize with customers and find purpose when she was too ill to participate in another business venture they had built together.
Their location along Route 33 in Rockbridge made this the ideal place for Joyce to interact with customers and be useful. This complex includes antique malls, a craft mall, miniature golf and a weekend flea market that draws in the crowds.
They specialize in hand dipped Velvet ice cream in sixteen flavors that can be served up in a cone or in a number of delectable dishes like sundaes, milkshakes and banana splits. Toppings like butterscotch, peanut butter and strawberry can transform a bowl of the Ohio based ice cream into something truly special.
They also serve foods like pulled pork, grilled cheese, coney dogs, personal pizza and taco in a bag. These simple foods are perfect for anyone looking for a quick bite or a snack to enjoy while out browsing the flea market.
They offer outdoor seating as well as tables in air conditioned comfort for anyone wishing to stop and rest. “Most people want things they can eat while they walk,” Mike said. “You’ll see families stopping to sit while they eat but a lot of folks want a hot dog or an ice cream cone, something you can eat while you walk. So we try to accommodate everyone.”
Mike has a strong work ethic and it sounds like Joyce did as well. He’s at an age where some might say retirement would sound appealing but he has different ideas about work and life than most. “I like to stay busy. I like to work and be useful. It’s through working that we earn an income so we can build a better life. All of this, all of it is better when you have the right person by your side. Life is better when you’re together and when the work you do is to make a better life for yourself.”
Joyce passed away earlier this month, leaving behind a legacy of family, love and work ethic that develops when you have something special you’re working to build with someone you love.
Remember how they had their first date at the state fair? Part of their concessions business includes a large presence at that very same fair. They take trailers and have permanent structures at the fairgrounds. Those permanent buildings are near the spot where the helicopter ride is based. “Who would have thought all those years ago that those two kids would grow up to have a business like ours and that we’d still be here serving all the young folks on their dates? It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.”
Look for Bailey Concessions as the Ohio State Fair and at a host of other large venues.
If you’re in the Hocking Hills, be sure to stop by 33 Shake Shoppe for a sandwich and delicious cold treat that will be made just for you. They are located at 26802 US 33, Rockbridge in the Hocking Hills Market complex that includes antiques, crafts and a host of other businesses.