The Parlour has new owners who plan to bring back homemade ice cream

JACKSON, MI – A new owner has taken over The Parlour in Jackson, and she hopes to transform the historic spot back to its glory days.

John Cuneo took over the ice cream parlor, 1401 Daniel Road, in 2021 hoping to run it with his daughter. However, after Cuneo struggled with health issues and some financial troubles, the business went back into the hands of former owners Mark and Trace Cooley.

Mark Cooley has since sold the building and business to Janet Parker, who also owns Sweet Scoops, 1077 N. Wisner St. Cooley said a few people were interested in purchasing the building, but Parker was the only one who planned to keep it as The Parlour.

“I’m a businessman, but if I can keep The Parlour in Jackson, I’m going to keep The Parlor in Jackson,” Cooley said.

Parker took over the historic ice cream shop Monday, April 1, with co-owner Sarah Smedley. While Parker did not grow up in Jackson, she wanted to continue the history of the restaurant that Jacksonians cherish, she said.

“When you talk to people who have lived in Jackson, everybody has a memory of The Parlour,” Parker said. “It would have been very sad to see it close down and turned into something else.”

RELATED: Peek Through Time: The Parlour dares people to be great, tells the history of Jackson dairies

The new owners hope to do justice to the iconic restaurant, while bringing in their own flavor. This includes bringing back homemade ice cream. Currently, the ice cream shop sells Hudsonville Ice Cream and Ashby’s Ice Cream, she said.

At Sweet Scoops, Parker already makes her own ice cream and will implement that into The Parlour. This will include traditional flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate, and unique flavors, such as blueberry lavender, churro and Mountain Dew.

She also hopes to keep some of the traditional American food, while adding things like pizza, including a peanut butter pizza, which will be made with homemade dough, peanut butter sauce, pizza sauce, cheese and whatever toppings customer wants, Parker said.

Other things she plans to implement into The Parlour is events, such as a “Roaring 50s” night, classic car shows and euchre clubs, she said. She also hopes convince employees to wear vintage style uniforms.

Parker plans to keep everything else the same at The Parlour, including the classic and old ice cream parlor feel in the front of the store. The Dare To Be Great is also here to stay, she said.

The Parlour is currently temporarily closed to allow for cleaning and implementing some of these changes. She’s estimating to have a soft reopening sometime mid-April, with a grand reopening on Wednesday, May 1, she said.

While Cuneo was sad to let the restaurant go, he’s excited to see The Parlour traditions live on, he said.

“I’m definitely going to miss the people, miss all the stories,” Cuneo said. “But, it’s a big sense of relief, a lot of pressure off of me that I don’t need right now.”

Parker is excited to take over. She said she and Smedley hope to own the restaurant long-term, and to have something each of their kids could continue one day.

“I‘m looking forward to just continuing the history and being a part of the history,” Parker said. “I mean, that’s kind of epic to be involved with a restaurant that’s literally been going for 100 years darn near.”

The business was the result of a merger between Loud’s Dairy and Jackson Dairy Co. in 1933. An ownership change in 1962 led to the name being changed to Jackson All-Star Dairy. It became The Parlour in the early 1970s.

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