YORK -- L'Cees, a new ice cream parlor that opened last week in downtown York, already is catering to customers with cool cones and coffee for the summer season.
Probably few people are more satisfied to see the new business open at 17 N. Congress St. than Winthrop University grad student Patrick Davie. For him it's the fulfillment of a plan he helped develop.
Davie works as a consultant with the Small Business Development Center of South Carolina at Winthrop and created a business plan for the business. Driving by and seeing it open for the first time is a great feeling, he said.
"It's the first client that's opened thanks to me," he said.
L'Cees owners Lisa Bernier and Christy Spatz went to a seminar at Winthrop that professor Dianne Hockett, director of the Winthrop SBDC chapter, gave about starting a small business. Afterward, they talked with Hockett and Davie. From the basic information that they gave, Davie was able to develop a business plan, complete with charts and predictions for them within a day and a half.
The SBDC of South Carolina operates out of four colleges. Winthrop serves 16 counties in South Carolina. On average, the program helps 30 start-up businesses a year, Hockett said.
For people who are thinking about getting into a business, it's good to see what they are getting into, she said. "Sometimes people overlook things that can sabotage them later."
It's also beneficial for the students, she said, adding it gives them real world experience.
The owners say Winthrop's help was crucial to them opening successfully.
"By the time I went to the bank I had done all the homework," Bernier said.
They tried to keep things local, from the financing from the Bank of York to products sold.
"We wanted to keep it quaint and cozy and basically use the name of some ice cream that people were familiar with and also loved, which ended being Tony's from Gastonia," Bernier said.
The parlor offers nine flavors of ice cream plus two sugar-free varieties. They also offer sundaes, coffee products and hot dogs. Future plans include offering old-fashioned candy and soups and stews in the winter.
The store plans to try to coincide its weekend hours to attract people leaving Sylvia's Theater.
The biggest challenge was renovating the building, Spatz said.
"This building was built in 1843, so bringing it up to today's health code standards was hard," Spatz said.
They installed new wiring and plumbing, put in a new ceiling, and painted the dark walls a light pink. Although it's about two months later then they had planned to open, the owners said they are pleased with the results.
"We have had nothing but really nice, good, personal relationships with the people we've had to deal with," Bernier said.
For Davie, he enjoyed seeing what he put on paper turn into a parlor.
"I wasn't sure how things were going to be laid out," he said standing in the store earlier this week, "but it's nice."
Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.