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Delightful creations

Photos by Shari Harris
Jean Potts is the master creator of gooeys (pictured), sundaes, and more at Rock House Designs and Creamery.

The Vintage Market is a unique shopping experience, and the Creamery located inside offers a delicious ice cream treat.

Gloria Applegate enjoys the ambience of her surroundings in the Creamery dining area.

By Shari Harris, Managing Editor

What do you get when you mix a vintage market, local artisans and their work, homemade ice cream, and a selection of homemade sauces and toppings? You get a unique shopping and dessert experience the whole family can enjoy at The Rock House Designs and Creamery.

The Vintage Market at The Rock House Designs and Creamery is known for its collection of one-of-a-kind items created by Potts and a group of local artisans. Metal art, pottery, textiles, vintage pieces of furniture, glassware, and home décor fill the shop, offering serious shoppers and browsers alike a delightful experience. The shop also includes a creative center, carrying paints and Iron Orchid Designs products. The Rock House has gradually become a center of creativity in the community, with artists interacting and sharing ideas. Potts shared that shoppers come in, see the creations in the store, and often get ideas for making their own creations. She considers this a compliment to the artists and designers whose items she sells.

One of her artists is Gary Duncan, who operated Dunky’s Ice Cream and Diner, which was just across Main Street from the building where Potts opened her shop. Duncan offered to sell Potts and husband Jeff his ice cream making equipment and mentor them in the process of making the cold, creamy treat. Jean felt a creamery would be an excellent addition to her market, and as Duncan’s ice cream was always a favorite of Jeff’s, he was on board as well. Creating special treats from the mix of ice cream, toppings and syrups is just another form of art, Jean explains, as she designs a dessert with a look and taste sure to please.

Every other Sunday, the Potts work together at the creamery to make two flavors of homemade ice cream – vanilla and chocolate (and a third selection, double chocolate, may be coming soon). They only make enough for two weeks, to keep it fresh. Jeff is the one who makes sure the temperature is correct, for that perfect batch. Jean is in charge of toppings and sauces, trying to provide customers with all the goodies they would desire.

Offering sundaes, gooeys, banana splits, floats, bowls and ice cream cones, there are many ways to satisfy a sweet tooth. Sundaes come with one, two or three scoops of ice cream, and one choice of syrup, toppings, nuts, whipped cream, and a cookie or cherry on top. Gooeys, a creation the Potts learned about in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are what Jean refers to as a “sundae on steroids.” With two choices of syrup, nuts, two choices of toppings, whipped cream, and a cookie or cherry on top of one, two or three scoops of ice cream, this creamy delight offers a mix of delightful flavors. One may find it difficult to choose between all the mouth-watering options – chocolate, caramel, white chocolate, honey (from Nelson’s Farm, near Licking), chocolate-caramel or strawberry syrups, and toppings such as dark chocolate sea salt, Reese’s cup, Snickers, Hershey’s milk chocolate, M&M’s, Pirouline wafers or Hershey’s Cookies & Cream. Potts tries to change the toppings as she receives suggestions from customers. She uses homemade or local items as much as possible, and tries to shop locally for all her supplies.

Potts’ goal is to always improve her Vintage Market, and the Creamery adds to the experience of the shop by offering customers a place to sit and take a break, and enjoy a delicious treat while shopping. The space is also ideal for meeting friends.

She also supports the history of the community, and feels newcomers to the area are able to build connections to Licking’s past at her vintage market. Its proximity to the Licking Mill gives her the opportunity to share its history. She refers many to the Texas County Museum of Art & History, where old pictures of Licking can be found.

The concept for The Rock House Designs and Rentals grew in the Kissiar family’s old rock homestead on South Highway 137, where Jean Potts and sister Trish Kissiar-Knight teamed up to repurpose and refinish items for special events, like weddings. The growth into the current location on Mill Street in Licking was natural.

Wesley Kissiar, their father, constructed the building as a feed store for Larry Miller in 1974, on the corner of North Main Street and Mill Street, just west of the Licking Mill. Over the last half century, many businesses have occupied the structure, including a farm supply store.

The renovation of the building into a vintage market and creamery required some work and a mix of local talent. A 9-foot x 7-foot hole in the floor, originally intended to allow for scales to be placed at the feed store, had to be filled with concrete. A foot of concrete had to be drilled through for a drain in another room. QPC helped with the plumbing, and HEI added an HVAC system. HEI’s Randy Harris kept the developing creamery in mind, and contacted Potts one day about a set of vintage stools that had been in his dad’s café in St. Louis. Their location at a window shelf (built by Mason Creech, along with other work) make them a favorite of the young or the young at heart, who are entertained by spinning the old-fashioned stools. Danny Kuhn also had a hand in the work needed to develop the creamery. Potts says Debbie James and Knight are her designers, and the three have combined to make the creamery an extension of the vintage market, with artists’ work decorating the walls and with tables attractively set.

Young artist Beatrice Hovey’s jewelry can be purchased in the market, and on Saturdays, Hovey helps Potts in the market and creamery. Debbie James often helps in the market as well, freeing Potts to create delectable desserts. She will build your ice cream creation to your specifications, with her variety of delicious toppings and syrups, and offers an equally impressive variety of home décor, art and jewelry to suit each individual’s unique tastes. Potts credits her mother for teaching her hospitality, and her father for giving her a desire to serve her community, both of which visitors will notice when visiting with her.

Come by her shop, just one block north of the four-way stop in Licking, and draw your own impressions about the Vintage Market and Creamery. Or talk to her about holding your meeting or gathering at her shop. To stay up-to-date on her latest toppings and flavors, check out the Rock House Designs & Rental Facebook page or stop by and see for yourself.

Photos by Shari Harris

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