The Saratoga Sun -

Last lick at Lollypops

Chitwoods close the doors at local coffee shop/eatery after six years in business

 

November 7, 2018

Joshua Wood

The Chitwoods with Katie Moore on Oct. 30, their last day.

On Oct. 30, just shy of their six-year anniversary of buying the business, Bobby and Danyel Chitwood, and daughters Dallys and Austyn, worked their final shift at Lollypops before closing the doors one last time as the owners of the nearly 30-year-old Valley institution.

"A lot of the questions have been, 'Are you happy?' 'Are you sad?' and I would just honestly say it's a bag of mixed emotions," said Danyel Chitwood.

The Chitwoods had officially purchased the ice cream parlor and restaurant from former owner Irene Mikkelsen on Dec. 4, 2012 and made their own mark on the business while attempting to keep it true to its roots. Homemade ice cream was still on the menu, but over the years the family added catering to their business and featured coffee from Coal Creek Coffee Company in Laramie, Wyo.

"We officially listed it for sale about a year-and-a-half ago and it was for sale by owner for a couple of months before we actually listed with a realtor," said Danyel. "That was a long, long year of not having Bobby home that we decided it was something we probably needed to do to get our family back together. When we moved to Saratoga, our plan was to all be in one spot and that just didn't play out that way."

When the family first moved to Saratoga and purchased the businesses, Danyel was working in Rawlins at Best Western and Bobby managed the restaurant. Nearly six years later, it was Danyel who was managing the business and Bobby was working for Classic Air Medical. With two weeks in Riverton and one week in Craig, Colo., it meant very little time for the father of two to be home with his growing daughters.

While they will be staying in the Valley until the end of December, the family will be moving to Riverton, which will increase the time that Bobby can spend with his children from one week to three weeks.

"I am happy for my kids to be with their dad full time and obviously for me to be sharing in parenting full time," Danyel said. "It was fun working with my kids, it was fun watching our oldest one grow and become the employee she became."

Most children don't necessarily enjoy working with their parents, but, according to Danyel, Dallys is actually upset that she will no longer be able to do that.

"I guess that should make me feel kind of good that she's sad that she doesn't have a job and that job happens to be working with her mom and dad at their own business," said Danyel.

Over the time that they've owned Lollypops, however, the Chitwood family has extended to include many of their team members. This included Katie Moore, who worked for the Chitwoods for four years, and Meredith Lincoln. Danyel noted, however, that the transfer of ownership was coming at a time when they normally would be switching over approximately 50 percent of their employees as teenagers graduated and went off to college.

Saratoga Sun file photo

The Chitwoods with Judy Duhring when they first purchased Lollypops.

With tears in her eyes, the now former co-owner of Lollypops reflected on how the community, the employees and her own family helped make running the business possible.

"Thank you for your support and the friendships we've made. It's been great. This chapter of our life has been awesome. It's been good for our kids, it's been good for us as a family and we couldn't have done it without all of them. So, just, thank you to the community and the customers," Danyel said. "We've enjoyed it and I know that our next adventure will be just as good and have just as many good memories."

On the door to Lollypops, a handwritten sign, bearing the signatures of Danyel, Bobby, Dallys, Austyn and Katie Moore, hung in the window that read "Thank you for all the years of service. Lollypops will have new owners October 31st. We will miss you all and appreciated your support, the Pop Gang."

 

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