BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Penguin Palace is open for business and new owners Chad and Amy Buck are eager to serve up many of the familiar items customers in Maumee expect, such as delicious soft-serve ice cream, floats, sundaes, hot dogs and more.
“I thought it would be a fun venture for us,” Amy said of the decision she and her husband made to purchase the shop.
While adding a new logo, signage and red and white table umbrellas, Amy remained mindful of the ice cream shop’s earliest days from its founding in 1947.
“Penguin Palace has been an icon for so long and I tried to incorporate all of the 1950s design in everything that we did,” she said.
Although the signage has been updated, the ice cream and the prices will remain the same, she added. New items, including soft pretzels, Dole whip and Root’s barbecue chicken and beef, have also been added to the menu. Penguin cutouts in a car have also been added for fun photo-taking opportunities.
After purchasing the business from Marcia Helman and Sherry Kerstetter in November, the Bucks began a significant renovation project that included adding all new siding, new windows, a larger stamped concrete area, more seating and all new machines. While the familiar penguin mural that previously covered the side of the building is gone, it isn’t because the couple didn’t want to keep it. Unfortunately, the wood had to be replaced, said Chad.
They are happy to officially open for business, but admit that getting to this point has been a learning process. Initially, Chad did not submit proper engineering plans before hanging the building façade, which required him to remove it until the proper plans are submitted and approved. Chad credits the city Zoning and Inspection Division, especially chief inspector Bruce Wholf along with Maumee Mayor Richard Carr, for working with him to get the situation resolved.
“From the start, the zoning and building office did help us out a lot,” he said. “Rich stepped in with Bruce and walked me through the proper procedures.”
The Bucks have invested approximately $400,000 into the property, which they say will serve as a welcome investment venture in their retirement years. Living across the street will also make it easier for them to take care of the ice cream shop while running a construction and paving business in a busy household with four children.
“I hope to eventually pass my asphalt business down to my kids and then I’m going to need something to do,” Chad said. “I like the seasonal thing, so we can travel in the winter – and I thought it would be fun, too.”