Keeping cool with Kimmie’s Kones in Charleroi

cone_desserts_191970The story of Kimmie’s Kones began with love.

Long before the shop opened, owner Patrice Vogel frequented her neighborhood pizza and ice-cream shop where co-owner and future husband, Art Vogel worked.

After the two married, they decided to open an ice-cream parol of their own, opening in 2011.

“We named the shop after our daughter, Kim,” Patrice Vogel said. “We thought Kimmie’s Kones had a nice ring to it.”

Although Art Vogel had worked in an ice-cream shop, the couple mostly learned as they went, opening their first location along a main street.

Offering hand-dipped and soft serve flavors, the family scooped up a variety of treats for customers of all ages.

When her husband’s mother suffered a stroke in 2014 and later passed away, the pair were forced to close in the doors on their dream, unsure when they would open again.

It wasn’t until March of this year that they felt ready to serve up scoops of ice-cream again.

“We had rented our last building and when we started floating the idea around of opening again, we really wanted our own building,” Vogel said.

Frequently driving through Charleroi, the husband and wife kept their eyes open for a location fit for their parlor dreams. One Sunday, they passed by what looked to be a perfect parlor.

“We passed by at first and then immediately my husband turned around,” Vogel said. “We called the real estate agent and knew it was the place.”

Kimmie’s Kones reopened in July at 2 McKean Ave., just in time to serve up their signature cones to summer customers.

The parlor is a family-run affair with Art coming in after work to help his wife, along with their daughter Kim and niece taking turns behind the counter.

“We eat, sleep and drink ice-cream in our family,” she said.

Vogel says that customers clamor for all 12 of their hand-dipped flavors, soft-serve chocolate and vanilla, and a signature soft serve flavor of the week. While her favorite flavor is the tangerine soft serve, her husband favors the pistachio. At their previous location, the most popular flavors among patrons were tangerine, black raspberry and pistachio soft-serve.

Seeing the sweet, smiling faces of customers is the family’s favorite part of the job, with Vogel fondly recalling the ice-cream covered faces of children and a frequent fan all the way from Texas.

“At our old location we had a man who temporarily moved here from Texas and he only ever got a chocolate and vanilla soft serve in a waffle cone,” she said. “He came in to tell us he was being shipped back to Texas, and as he held a waffle cone, he told us how much he was going to miss this place.”

They hope to attract a fresh batch of new customers with their new location and are still deciding on whether the shop will remain open year-round or seasonally. For now, they’re happy to revel in the celebration of their recent re-opening with customers.

Looking ahead to the future, Vogel hopes that maybe the treats of Kimmie’s Kones will spread far and wide in the community.

“I’d love to explore franchising one day,” she said. “I could see a couple more Kimmie’s Kones down the line.”

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Story by Lauren Rearick for Pennsylvania Bridges