Curb Service at Kilwin's
With easier parking, it's less in demand
by Bix Engels
After last winter, it's hard to believe there will be long, sultry nights when we will yearn for an ice cream. But if you can't wait for a double-dip mint-chip or a length of chocolate-almond bark, Kilwin's on Liberty is making it really easy with curbside and delivery service for its confections and quarts.
Karen Piehutkoski, who owns the store with daughter Chera Tramontin, says they started the service about a year ago, when it was so hard to find a place to park that people would repeatedly circle the block. "I thought people could just call, put in their order, and we'd wrap up a half-pound of raspberry creams or whatever and run them out," says Piehutkoski. "Unfortunately, now it's not hard to get a parking place."
Ann Arbor Kilwin's is the first franchise of the chain, which started in 1947 in Petoskey. Piehutkoski opened her shop in January 1983, in time for Valentine's Day. Back then, she says, downtown was in something of a slump, so everyone was excited about the new shop. They carry more than a hundred different chocolates and confections, all made on site or in the Petoskey kitchen. The ice cream, too, comes from Petoskey. They always have twenty-eight flavors on hand, though not always the same ones.
The curbside and delivery service has exposed an existential difference between chocolate seekers and ice creamers. Even though Piehutkoski says they'd be happy to deliver a load of cones to a car-full of needy 'screamers, so far the service has been mostly for boxed chocolates (this has "forgot-our-anniversary" written all over it). In contrast, "ice cream people want to come and get a cone and hang. It's part of the experience."
[Originally published in May, 2009.]