Graeter's Ice Cream is settling into new digs on Bethel Road.

The Cincinnati-based company has relocated to 2136 Bethel Road, about a mile east of its original flagship store in central Ohio at 2555 Bethel Road.

The new shop opened March 26.

It has a familiar look and comfy feel, same as the other shops, but it has a few new amenities, general manager John Weston said.

One is the drive-thru on the west side of the building, which most recently was home to a Family Dollar store.

"That's one of the reasons we moved," Weston said. "We would have had to tear half that (older) building down to put a drive-thru in it."

The buildings were roughly the same size but the new Graeter's might feel bigger because it has more active space.

The old shop originally was set up to make ice cream, but that ended in 2012, when the company consolidated manufacturing into one facility in Cincinnati, Weston said.

The new shop also has a playground.

Children can climb up to two big slides, run around such stationary fixtures as a mammoth ice cream cone, push a carousel and play with a scarf-shooting machine that propels the fabric through a series of air-powered tubes that release the scarves at an open end so children can catch them.

Children ages 3 and younger have their own section.

Two rooms, each with a capacity of 20, are available for rent, too, Weston said.

Weston said the policy of no bare feet in the children's area is enforced for sanitary reasons.

The main area seats 125, with the ice-cream bar serving as the centerpiece of the space.

Graeter's carries 24 to 28 ice creams, including its signature flavor, black-raspberry chocolate chip, and new selections, such as maple-cinnamon crunch, as well as sorbets and a number of beverages such as smoothies, shakes, malts and ice cream sodas.

"Graeter's has kind of stuck to traditional flavors," Weston said.

The ice cream parlor also has an espresso maker, which will make a full line of coffee drinks, including affogato, which is a scoop of ice cream covered by espresso.

"We carry a full line of Graeter's candy, which some of the other stores can't carry because of space," Weston said. "And one of our newest features is our community room," which has seating for 24.

Weston said no major concerns are anticipated with parking.

Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner of Graeter's Ice Cream, said the company looks forward to maintaining a presence in northwest Columbus.

"Our Bethel Road location has long been our flagship store in Columbus, and a location that our entire team has grown to love," Graeter said. "The families in the area have grown up with us and we've grown our business through them.

"When we were looking at bringing an even bigger, better experience to central Ohio, it just made sense to keep it close to our loyal guests and their families."

Meanwhile, the former Graeter's at 2555 Bethel Road will become a Habitat for Humanity MidOhio ReStore, a discount home-improvement store typically stocking used items, such as cabinetry and plumbing fixtures.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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