In August 1998, Ernie and Patti Schott purchased Taggarts Ice Cream for $295,000. Their goal was to bring the Canton landmark back to its original glory.
Since Joe Taggart sold the business in 1958, the restaurant has changed hands four times. As ownership changed, so did much of the devotion to the quality, until the Schotts stepped in with a mission to restore the Taggarts name.
So far, the Schotts have increased sales 110 percent since assuming ownership, and grown the employee base from 14 to 38 full-time and part-time workers.
Patti Schott, a nurse for 32 years, attributes the couple’s success to their involvement with the community.
“It really has turned the place around, because the people prior to us were not really involved with the community and we have been, and we donate to any of the community organizations. It has come back to us one-hundred-fold,” she says.
Along with reconnecting to the community, the Schotts invested $30,000 in restorations to the 76-year-old building, including general cleaning and painting, landscape improvements and repairs to the stucco exterior. They also replaced outdated kitchen equipment, restored much of the dining room furniture and replaced a player piano in the parlor with a more user-friendly model.
Their most noticeable improvement, however, may have been to the menu. Homemade favorites have returned, including 15 regular and 11 seasonal ice cream flavors, all made on the premises twice a week. The Schotts also use many of Taggarts’ original recipes for hot fudge and the flavored syrups used in fountain drinks, homemade soups, salads and sandwiches.
Last year, revenue topped $500,000 at the 72-seat establishment, and the Schotts gave about $300 a month to local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations. How to reach: Taggarts Ice Cream, (330) 452-6844