BUSINESS FEATURE: Food, ice cream, and antiques all in one at the Ol' Swimming Hole

Andy George
By Andy George
July 25th, 2011

Just in time for the long awaited summer sun, this Grand Forks staple has re-opened not a moment too soon. Beat the heat with a slushie in the shade, a dip into the Kettle River or enjoy barbequed lunches before a viewing of antique collectibles. With options for everyone, The Olde Swimmin’ Hole is well worth the trip to 9 Street in South Ruckle.   “Antiques are my passion, it’s a soul business for me,” puns proprietor Joy Davies. “And the concession: I love children, and I knew eventually I would be a grandma. So I wanted to be the grandma that had the ice cream store.”   It’s always best to be involved with your passions, but for a business venture, antiques and ice cream seem an odd combination until one understands this premise: while the children indulge in a cool treat, the adults are afforded a moment or two of serenity.   The antique & gift shop is located in an old cottage, behind the concession stand. Davies has scoured estate sales, auctions, and taken in consignments to build an extensive collection of fine arts, furniture, crystal and glassware, jewellery, and pottery. She conducts research on most artifacts and enlists the aid of various experts from around the region, to offer opinions on matters of history, condition and price.   The Olde Swimmin’ Hole Antiques & Gift Shoppe is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and appointments can be made for a more convenient viewing time.   And while Davies also owns the concession stand, it is being managed by her friends Elly Kennedy and Nan.   “When somebody comes we can cook ‘em anything they want,” says Nan, “We’re going to do chicken burgers, regular burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, smokies, sausages, fish & chips… we’ve got pop, juice, we’re doing slushies, milkshakes, coffee, regular tea, and lots of herbal tea, ice cream cones and sundaes!” The concession is also convenient for tubers and rafters who need a little sustanance during a long floating day on the Kettle.   One of their best concepts is to host children’s birthday parties. “We are going to have games: a little pirate ship swimming pool, a big bounce & play, that kind of a thing will be set up over with the picnic tables. And anything that happens over at the river is totally the parents responsibility,” smiles Nan.   With so much to do, the kids are certain to be entertained all day, which if the premise holds, should offer welcome relief to parents and caregivers. The concession is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until dusk, for as long as the weather is warm.   “I just want to provide a service to the area that we don’t have,” elaborates Davies. “I don’t duplicate any business that’s in town; and to me, that’s really important at this stage in the development of this town.”  

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