Flowers family living a dream with opening of ice cream shop

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

For a long time, Scott Flowers and his family wanted to open an ice cream shop. 

So much so that it became one of the running jokes in the family.

“We may retire but we would retire in an ice cream store because everybody is happy when they’re eating ice cream,” according to Scott’s recollection of the joke. “It’s the perfect place to go retire and see smiling faces and make people happy.”

But in the middle of a pandemic? Absolutely, said Flowers. 

So last Friday, they opened Sprinkles Paradise Treats. It was a soft opening of the ice cream shop, which is located at 1373 East Tennessee Street, adjacent to G. Willies Uniform that is also owned by the family.

The operation is a total family affair that includes Scott’s mother Marilyn and his father John. They had plans to open Sparkles Paradise Treats earlier this year, but the outbreak of coronavirus delayed the plans.

They got tired of waiting and a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis decided to allow reopening of restaurants with social distancing in effect, they opened the business. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

John Flowers, his wife Marilyn and son Scott are living a longtime dream of operating an ice cream
shop. Photo by St. Clair Murraine

“We got tired of waiting on it and said, ‘OK, the virus is going to be here so we may as well go forward,” said Marilyn Flowers.

Customer weren’t exactly bursting down the doors on opening day, but they came. Scott Flowers, a candidate in the Leon County Commission race for the at-large seat, estimated they had 50 people come through. That was about twice as many as they expected, he said.

Ron Flury, his wife Theresa and their daughter Kasey stop by about mid-afternoon. It was an easy decision for the family to break the monotony of staying at home during the pandemic. 

“My wife talked to the owners so we thought we would give them some support while practicing social distancing,” Flury said.

They did a little browsing, then Ron asked what doughnut he should try. His wife suggested the cinnamon sugar mini.

There were plenty of other choices. For example, there is sundae in a souvenir bowl for $10.49 or a small cone for $1.89. The menu also includes ice cream cake, something called the lucky goat frappe and more traditional drinks like Coke and root beer.

They boast doughnuts, coffee and ice cream, but the adventurous can also find a lunch special of double Coney dog, a drink and a small sundae for $9.99

Tucked into a corner need the front of the store is a karaoke piano that Scott Flowers said the family used for shows at nursing homes and parties at their home. They hope to have the piano as a fixture for future karaoke nights after upgrading the playlist.

The venture isn’t the first for the family. Before they took over ownership of G. Willies, John and Marilyn operated convenient stores and a truck stop near their native Webb  City, Missouri. Scott was first to leave the world of entrepreneurship and head to Florida. He landed in Destin a year before moving to Tallahassee in 2000.

His parents followed him and soon after continued their entrepreneurial ways. The family took over ownership of G. Willies from the previous owners, offering them a better deal than they were headed into with a ‘fire sale” when hard times hit the business.

The family also owns the building where Sparkles Paradise is located. It replaced a vape shop that had a short life span and left a vacant spot. 

Opening the ice cream shop had long been a goal that Scott and his wife had. They first wanted to help a friend establish a shop in South Florida, he said. However, when that didn’t work out they tried settling on bringing the idea to Tallahassee.

Their first choice was to purchase the former Hershey’s ice cream shop off Sharer Road near the old Movie 8 location. That deal didn’t happen but 15 years later, they are now living a dream.

Even if it means opening in the middle of a pandemic.

“We knew it wouldn’t last forever,” Scott Flowers said. “We knew that people would want to get back to normal life and we knew more than anything that when they got back to normal life they were going to want some things with their family to make them feel good. We thought it was the perfect time.”