In the heart of downtown, a three-ton neon sign illuminates Broad Street below. The smell of fresh made sweet waffle cones fills the air before you even step inside the infamous ice cream shop.
Cream City is the home of these twinkling lights and tempting auromas. A familiar sense that many Cookeville locals have been missing for years, but ten years ago husband and wife Chris and Karen Savage, both Tech Alums, reopened the doors to the iconic Cream City Ice Cream and Coffee once more.
In 2013, Karen was a stay at home mom, scared of failing this renewed legacy. She kept faith and worked hard, and made the connections to get Cream City into a second coming of glory days that patrons are lucky enough to get to experience now.
“We have the best customers in the whole world! The community is broad. We have customers that will come in and tell us that they worked here back in the 60’s, and customers that are just little kids,” Chris said.
Chris also shared that he loves coming in on graduation day because he enjoys seeing students and family celebrate that vital moment with them. The party room in the back has been a part of numerous birthday parties, fraternity events, graduations, and other shared celebrations. “That just tickles us, you know, we just feel privileged that they want to spend part of the evening with us,” he said
What isn’t widely known is Cream City wasn’t always a sweet shop. In 1890, Consumer City helped service milk and butter from Chicago, partnering with a store of the same name in Murfreesboro. Serving the same community, the Cooekville location decided to branch out into a sweeter business. The business flourished into the 1900s, the famous neon sign was placed in 1950 along with a new building construction after the original was burned in a fire in 1948.
Family is an essential piece of Cream City’s success as they have had several family members work there, as well as Karen and Chris sharing that their employees now have become a family to them too. Some employees like to come in to hang out even outside of working hours because they enjoy the store so much. Tech students have made a second home of Cream City, often coming in with friends or just visiting to enjoy a coffee and free wifi to work on assignments when they need a good place to study away from campus.
Earlier this month they shared a celebratory post on instagram to share their excitement of reaching their ten year anniversary, while teasing that they will have special things happening every month for the rest of the year. Karen said these special events will entail bringing back discontinued flavors for a limited time and special T-shirts. For January, they are featuring the double fudge flavor that is only back for a limited time.