SENNETT - Customers often tell Greg Meyers about the novelty of Drive-Thru Joe, the coffee and ice cream stand he owns.
“Especially people from out of state, they've never seen something like this,” he said.
By serving coffee and ice cream from within the teal trailer-sized stand sitting in the Big Lots parking lot on Grant Avenue, Meyers and his wife, Marianne, have built two substantial customer bases.
The coffee crowd comes from the morning to mid-afternoon hours. Many are regular customers who swing by on their way to work for a quick fix of caffeine.
“It's convenient when you don't have to get out of your can; you can get in and out fast,” Meyers said.
The only part of the process that could take time is selecting a flavor. Meyers keeps many on hand, including chocolate peanut butter, butter rum and the popular hazelnut.
“A lot of the coffee people I know by name and know what they drink before they pull up,” he said.
Drive-Thru Joe's location outside Auburn works to its advantage by providing commuters from Elbridge and Syracuse with a quick coffee stop. But that location also makes the stand a less ideal source of midday coffee.
“But we make do and the business is decent,” Meyers said.
The other key crowd at Drive-Thru Joe is that which screams for ice cream. As the dinner hour dims in the summer months, Meyers sees the traffic in the stand's car lane significantly increase for the second time a day.
Some customers want a cone before or after seeing a movie at the nearby theater.
You have free articles remaining.
“It's a great spot to be waiting for a movie,” said Kevin Nelson, of Venice Center, as he indulged in a butterscotch sundae.
Nelson added, “They have quite the selection, it's tough to choose.”
Other patrons show up on motorcycles, like the Star Society club that regularly visits ice cream stands in the Finger Lakes area on Thursdays. Many more come on Tuesdays, when Drive-Thru Joe offers a two-for-one sale on cones.
And the most unique segment of Meyers' customers do not want any ice cream themselves, but for their dogs. Doggie sundaes - vanilla ice cream with a dog biscuit - are a popular treat at Drive-Thru Joe. Meyers enjoys the sight of the canines in a customer's back seat as they order the treat for their furry friends.
“Those are the interesting people,” he said.
Meyers and his wife took the reins of the stand three years ago, when the previous owners - friends of theirs - wanted to sell it following a location switch from the Walgreen's parking lot to its current spot.
The Meyers brought experience in eatery ownership to Drive-Thru Joe. Several years ago, they owned the Green Shutters restaurant on Owasco Lake.
Working within such a smaller space was a new obstacle, but Meyers sees no need to change the set-up.
“For what we have, it's very convenient,” he said.
Staff writer David Wilcox can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 245 or firstname.lastname@example.org