BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — After a three-month closure due to damage from a storm, Penguin Palace is officially open again and serving ice cream to local residents.
On April 1, when Chad Buck received a phone call from Maumee police after 2:00 in the morning to say his business had sustained roof damage from a storm, he wasn’t expecting to arrive at Penguin Palace to see damage as extensive as he did. He and his wife, Amy, quickly realized their business, which had only been open for three days, would need to close.
The shop, located at 2117 River Rd. in Maumee, has undergone extensive work over the past three months, including getting a new roof and HVAC unit, a resealed patio and an updated parking lot and flooring.
The process to open was also helped along by many members of the community and city officials.
“We had good interaction with the city and getting back open. There were really no hiccups. April 1 was the storm, and we are open three months later,” Chad said.
After the storm, the Bucks received support from many city officials, including councilmen Scott Noonan and Gabe Barrow and city administrator Dr. Patrick Burtch. They also received quick assistance from J&R Restoration and Brent Buehrer of Buehrer Engineering Group.
“Brent got on the drawings right away. He had them turned in to Maumee within a week, which is pretty much unheard of. Then they were in a review for another week and then J&R got the go-ahead,” Chad added.
While insurance helped with the cost of repairs, the Bucks have lost out on significant revenue for their business. They haven’t been open in three months, and June and July mark the busiest part of the season.
Still, the biggest impact is on their workers, they said, who have been patiently waiting for the business to reopen.
Working at the ice cream shop is a summer job for many local high school and college students, some of whom have been with Penguin Palace for several years. Though the Bucks were prepared for many to find jobs elsewhere, many of the students were waiting to return to the shop, they said.
“We are so very appreciative that they have stuck around and been with us through it all,” Amy said of the employees.
“The kids were all excited to come back to work as soon as we called them,” Chad added.
Running an ice cream shop is the same as running any other business; it requires a lot of work and planning, but dedicated employees help make things run smoothly, so the Bucks are excited to have their crew back in the shop, they said.
Now that the workers have returned and customers can stop in for their favorite frozen treats after a three-month closure, the Bucks anticipate some long lines. New employees will also be starting at the shop soon, so the Bucks are asking for added patience from customers.
“We are blessed to have our staff come back. However, there are a lot of students going back to college, so at this time, we usually have new staff come in, so we hope our customers are going to be patient with us because we are going to have a lot of new staff beginning,” Amy said.
The customers also add extra joy to the day, whenever they stop in, excitedly ordering their favorite treats, noted the couple.
“We just love seeing the customers walk away happy. We love the families stopping by and the grandparents bringing their grandkids. The community support we receive is remarkable,” Amy said.
“Maumee is a good community,” Chad added. “They try to keep their money here and support local businesses.”
Residents can stop from noon to 10:00 p.m. every day in the River Road shop for frozen treats and support the business and its workers before it closes for the season around mid-October.