Alicia Bonestroo – Staff Writer
At first glance, nothing has changed much in the parlor. There’s still a giant sculpture of an ice cream cone in front of the large building standing on a Le Mars street. Walking in, it takes a moment for the changes to register.
This summer, Blue Bunny of Le Mars, IA renovated it’s almost-local ice cream parlor and had its Grand Reopening on June 12.
And after a summer away, Dordt students can now see those renovations for themselves.
The parlor still has the massive staircase and chandelier to greet customers when they first walk in, but the left side of the first floor has transformed into a retro look. With colorful new booths and a classic wooden ice cream bar, the seating now looks straight out of a 1960’s diner.
The gift shop relocated to behind the grand staircase. The shop offers much of what it did before — souvenirs such as t-shirts, bags, magnets, ornaments, and the classic stuffed blue rabbits. Some of the quirkier gifts include picture frames that have sayings such as “There are two times for ice cream. Now, and right now,” seem to be a hit with customers–or at least they are worth a chuckle or two.
Of course, there’s still the actual ice cream bar. High schoolers stand behind the counter, waiting to take orders and dish out ice cream. In that aspect, not much has changed, especially when people leave grinning, already licking their frozen treat before it melts.
The second floor has changed the most. On one side, there is an interactive game for children. Next to miniature picnic tables, several screens, baubles and buttons sit waiting to teach children about the process of making and delivering ice cream. They can even play a game that allows them to compete against a machine that is stocking ice cream in freezers. Of course, it’s all digital.
“I liked the remodel and how they had more displays to interact with,” said junior Zachary Sanford, one of a group of Dordt students who ventured to Le Mars to check out the updates.
Close to the rails stands a two-dimensional ice cream cone with a screen. The screen displays a photo of the user as a scoop of ice cream, which is sent via text.
Another addition is a small movie theater in the back of the second floor. Here, customers can view a short-animated film about the entire history of Blue Bunny.
There’s a wall outside the theater that reiterates some of the facts from the film, along with a personality quiz to see which ice cream you are.
If you want a relaxing place to eat your ice cream without the hubbub of children, games, and other customers, there is also an outdoor seating area on the roof.
“Despite the fancy new gadgets, my favorite part was the timeless ice cream and enjoying time with friends,” said Sophomore Christianna Marcy. “The technology allows customers to learn about the company, but it’s the people you are with who make the trip worth it.”