Ice Cream Summer: Scootin’ over to Scooters in Scotts

Ice cream and summer are the perfect pairing. This summer, Southwest Michigan Second Wave invites you to explore the array of ice cream shops that Kalamazoo County has to offer in our series, Ice Cream Summer. In our second in the series, we're sitting down with Cindy and David Bristol, owners of Scooters Malt Shoppe and Traveling Treats to get the scoop!

Indulge in the ultimate small-town experience at Scooters Malt Shoppe and Traveling Treats, a rustic ice cream parlor located only thirty minutes from downtown Kalamazoo. Located in the modest community of Scotts, this shop caters to the nostalgic with its antique décor and 1950s-inspired menu. Here, Second Wave sits down with owner Cindy Bristol, along with her husband David, to get the full story of their establishment. 
What’s their history?
According to Cindy, the original building burnt down in a fire but was rebuilt in 1911, then served as a hardware store. The store has held many different businesses since then, including a tractor repair shop, a fried chicken restaurant, a videodisk rental shop, and finally a malt shop. Cindy purchased the parlor thirty-four years ago. When asked about the origin of the name, David comments that the previous owner “had a couple of Cushman scooters so we named it ‘Scooters’… and put a few in the window.” 

Find an array of delectable ice cream treats; all crafted with Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream.Lifelong residents of the area, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last December. When it comes to their antique collection and selection process, Cindy notes, “It just kind of comes to me,” while David adds, “Some of it was our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents; some of it was our kids', our stuff,” as well as donations from customers and family. Their most prized items include a highchair that belonged to David’s great-great-grandmother and a doll given to Cindy by her grandmother.
Why ice cream?
“It was kind of an accident,” answers Cindy. “I was test-marketing the traveling treats business where I would make cupcakes, cookies, treats of some kind, and deliver them to the school… and needed a licensed kitchen to really take off.” The availability of the space combined with having young children and the need for a space for parties in the community attracted Cindy to the business.

Enjoy the classic diner booths while admiring 1950s memorabilia.
What makes their ice cream the best?
Sourced from Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream in Ludington, Scooters’ ensures that their product is produced in Michigan. 
How does the business engage with the community?
Being a small community, it’s hard not to be involved. Cindy substitute teaches K-12 “pretty much full-time” for Climax-Scotts Community Schools, providing contact with the kids in the area. For Cindy, the allure of the small-town atmosphere and the opportunity to connect with locals are undeniable drives behind her passion for Scooters. 

Scooters possesses vintage magazines to peruse and a juke box to listen to all the old tunes.
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Read more articles by Sam Kapp.

Sam Kapp is an independent historian with a passion for the environment. Sam graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2021. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy since 2018. New to Southwest Michigan, Sam is eager to immerse himself in his new community and its natural wonders.