Some of the most moving small town stories are the ones that involve family legacy, small business, and sweet treats. What better story could there be, then, but of a third generation local family owning a beloved downtown ice cream shop?
Angel and Rich McCrumb recently bought Turtle Tom’s Ice Cream Shoppe in downtown Eaton Rapids from Tom and Pam Bratz. For many, the new ownership is a pleasant surprise, a sigh of relief, and a dose of nostalgia.
Angel, daughter of Don and Elaine Colizzi, is a Charlotte native who’s lived in Eaton Rapids for the last 17 years. She graduated from Charlotte High School, and then earned her bachelors degree from Davenport University. She and her husband, Rich have two children who attend Island City Academy.
Angel’s grandparents, Pete and Kate Colizzi, were Italian immigrants who owned the homemade candy and ice cream shop in Charlotte, Liberty of Sweets, for more than 40 years. The Colizzis closed Liberty of Sweets the year Angel was born, but she always relished the stories of her parents and aunts and uncles about the beloved ice cream shop. When the opportunity to buy Turtle Tom’s presented itself, she knew she had to move.
“Maybe my kids will have those kinds of stories,” said Angel.
For Angel, the nostalgia of buying Turtle Tom’s is less about her, and more about her children. She wants them to have memories like those of her parents’ generation, to have hands on experience in a family business, and to know the joy and hard work of being a centrally located business. Tom and Pam already laid the groundwork for Angel and Rich, and now they want to build on that legacy.
“It’s important to us to take over something they (Tom and Pam) worked so hard on the last 10 years. We feel blessed to be in that kind of situation, to take over the reigns of their business,” said Angel. “We’re very fortunate to have them as part of our life. They’re very good friends of ours, and they’re still helping us.”
One of the great things about buying Turtle Tom’s is its central location in downtown Eaton Rapids. For the last 17 years Angel has marveled at the excitement and engagement of the Island City’s downtown, and even more so with Turtle Tom’s role on Main Street.
“I love the community,” said Angel. “I want to contribute to that and keep the energy and excitement alive downtown. And who doesn’t love an ice cream cone?”
Angel and Rich don’t plan to change much at Turtle Tom’s. They’re keeping much of the same staff from the last season, and their aim in the first year is simply to learn more about the business and its place within the community.
“We’re just going to make sure it’s a warm and welcoming place for the community to get ice cream with their families.”