Every day, Country Cones on Middlebranch Road in Plain Township has a line of customers standing in its parking lot. People come for the ice cream and hot sandwiches, including what’s labeled the “Best Coney in Stark County.”
The popular ice cream stand is owned by the Williams family. Emily Miller is one of the owners.
It’s truly a family affair with Emily and her husband David Miller and their three children aged 8, 5 and 3 working with her parents Keith and Linda Williams; her older sister Adrienne (husband James and three children aged 8, 7 and 5); and his younger brother Patrick and his wife Bri with (a 5 year old and they have one on the way).
Emily and her family members live in Plain Township or Louisville. All of the family members, including Emily’s husband and her parents, are former students of GlenOak High School.
Emily and her sister Adrienne run the day-to-day operations. She said the boys took care of the maintenance and her mother was their babysitter.
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“We have different roles, but all contribute to the success of Cone. My brother Patrick and I grew up working here in high school and we knew the day-to-day operations,” Emily said.
Country Cones opened in 1988. The second owner purchased it in 2002. The Williams family purchased it in 2014.
Country Cones opens March 17 each year and closes late September/early October. Hours vary weekly depending on the staff, as it employs all high school and college students.
“We sold over 56,000 cones last year!” said Emily. “We are very well known for our cones which we sold 16,000 last year and our giant ice cream cookie sandwiches which sold over 2,500 last year. Our most popular ice cream flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.
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Why do you think Country Cones is a must see here in Stark County?
I think it’s a staple here in Stark County because it’s been around since 1988.
We have always been known for our reasonable prices and generous portions. We are a family environment with a fair amount of outdoor seating. People come from all over for our coney sauce, drumstick (aka The Country Cone) and giant cookie sandwiches.
Which age group seems to be the biggest customer each year and why do you think this is?
I would say middle-aged parents with children are our largest customer group. However, the older generation usually comes during the day while young families stop by in the evening.
Kids love ice cream and since we have food, many parents like to have dinner and dessert in the same place. We also get a lot of ball teams that stop during the season.
Who created the coney sauce you use on “Best Coney in Stark County”?
This is a recipe passed down from the previous owner, Ron Upperman. I believe he also continued it from the first owner, John Walters. He is well loved and we will never change him.
Visiting Country Cones is often a family outing. What do you and your family enjoy doing together?
In the summer we like to get together and go swimming, boating and cooking at Adrienne and Jim’s. My brother and my parents have mini-farms, so there are always chores there.
What do you do out of season when Country Cones is closed?
We continue to operate our insurance agency which is a few buildings down the road from Country Cones. We usually take a big family trip after closing as we can’t in the summer months.
We also spend a little more time with our children.
Editor’s Note: Five Questions With… is a Sunday feature that features a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to participate, email [email protected]