A popular Franklin County ice cream soon will have a home in Collinsville.
Rodney Billings has announced that he will open Livy’s Ice Cream Shop, carrying Homestead Creamery products, in March.
The shop will be built on the same lot used by insurance agent Chris Starnes of State Farm, at 2842 Virginia Ave., in Collinsville.
“This past summer I started thinking [that] I really want to do something different,” said Billings, who is the president of and executive producer at BTW21 and the owner of The Candyboard Company.
He said he reflected back on how much he enjoyed taking his kids to the Homestead Creamery shop in Burnt Chimney and thought, “I would love to have Homestead Creamery right here in the middle of town.”
Starnes is a good friend, he said, and “I pitched the idea to him, and he said, ‘Let’s share this property.’”
“I told him it would be great to share that space with him,” Starnes said. “I didn’t see anything but good come out of it.”
Billings said he has bought a 16- by 7-foot enclosed trailer, and in March it will be set up on the front right corner of the insurance office’s parking lot.
Then “we will add on to it and build a country store, even including a tin roof from an old barn we tore down in Figsboro. When it’s finished, it will have the look of an old country store,” Billings added.
The insurance company’s office building has a long front porch out front, and Starnes said that he plans to “put some rocking chairs, benches, picnic tables — something — out there so people will be able to grab a seat and grab some shade.”
The location is new to Starnes, too. For three years, his insurance company operated out of a building in Villa Heights, but it was flooded in May, he said. He just got moved into the Collinsville location in July.
Starnes said that when Billings brought up the idea to him, Starnes told his friend that it “should be affordable — and he’s on spot with keeping it family-oriented to make it affordable.”
Prices will be $2 for children’s cones, $3.50 for regular, $4.50 for double and an additional $1 to add a waffle cone. The shop will be open from 4 to 9 p.m.
The shop plans to offer milk, cookies and ice cream sundaes as well as dishes and cones of 16 flavors of ice cream. Homestead Creamery is a locally run dairy in Franklin County which uses milk and cream from cows in three local farms.
Soon Starnes will be just a short walk away from his favorite ice cream flavor, butter pecan. However, he added with a laugh, “you can’t drink the chocolate milk” without going overboard — it’s so good that he’s never able to stop after just a cupful, so he’s in danger of drinking the whole container at once.
The name of the shop comes from the name of Billings’ 16-year-old daughter, Olivia Grace Billings, who is homeschooled. The name “just rolls off the tongue” more easily than the name of his 19-year-old son, Kameron Billings, a student at Old Dominion University.
He worried that using just his daughter’s name would hurt his son’s feelings, he added, but Kameron “was like, ‘Dad, I am cool with all of it, I really am.’”
Rose Jeter, Homestead Creamery’s sales and marketing manager, said, “We get excited any time a new company opens an ice cream shop and feels that we’re worthy enough to carry. That’s quite an honor.”
The shop’s website is www.livysicecreamshop.com. Applications for employment are being accepted over the site.
Holly Kozelsky reports for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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