They say you can’t go home again, but with the reopening of the Dilly Dally neighborhood store in South Salem, many people are.
The place where many children rode their bicycles to get ice cream, hot dogs, sodas and snacks for decades is once more a magnet for kids and adults.
It has been swamped since June 3 when Lisa and Reid Garst reopened the building built in 1910. The Garsts mentioned a “soft opening” on Facebook – and people came. It had been closed for 10 years.
In the past, kids riding alone or with their buddies to the corner store at Eddy and Front Avenue was a rite of passage. It’s still a coveted thing. Lisa had a certificate “Congratulations – you made it, your first ride to the Dilly Dally” certificate printed up to present to today’s first-ride kids.
“We take a picture of them and put it on our Facebook page,” Lisa said. “When we present it we all clap and cheers and make a big deal of it.”
On Monday afternoon this week, Cindy and Tony Winstead of Salem were celebrating their 24th anniversary sitting outside to enjoy hot dogs, split a cupcake and a drink.
“As a kid I came to the Dilly Dally. It’s a distant memory, a part of your childhood you almost forgot,” said Tony, “riding around on your bike and popping in.”
The market side of the business features hundreds of Virginia-made products, from post cards to potato chips, coffee and wine, to Elliston’s Big Spring Mills seasoned flour and corn meal, and farther down the aisle scented candles.
The business’ other side features hot dogs, fresh locally made cupcakes and a dozen flavors of extra-creamy ice cream.
“The ice cream is going gangbusters,” Lisa said, naming off flavors to drool over such as Tennessee Coffee “which is caramel and toffee with bourbon flavor in a premium vanilla. Michigan Pot Hole is double chocolate with a heavy fudge stripe.”
She said they have had customers come back small tasting spoon samples as they like from the 11 or 12 tubs.
Ashby Ice Cream from Sterling, Michigan, supplies the yummy treats. The names are particularly meaningful to the Garsts because Sterling is the name of their former business, and their daughter is named Ashby.
Hot dogs have their own ties to history, too. The chili and special yellow relish comes from Pride of Virginia in Lynchburg, Reid pointed out.
Donuts are baked fresh, and the Cathy Edgel of Neena’s Cupcakes delivers 250 cupcakes every other day.
“It’s been a real community effort to get the DD open” after a year-long renovation, Lisa said. “They’ve been active participants on Facebook. The neighbors have been encouraging. We have felt their support and just appreciate it so much.”
Managers for the DD are Jensen Blevins and Associate Manager Tyler Jackins who both live in South Salem.
The Dilly Dally is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 12:30 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. See The Dilly Dally Facebook page for more information or phone 540-404-4277.