SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Ice cream will be at the center of Savannah’s biggest party this weekend, and so will a Savannah story reaching all the way back to World War I.
"They fought in France, and when they came back, they opened the shop,’’ Stratton Leopold says of how his family’s ice cream business got started. “They opened at Gwinnett and Habersham. They bought a little fruit stand. That was there and they started making ice cream, and that’s how it all started.
Leopold’s will celebrate its 100th birthday with its annual Broughton Street block party Saturday. The business Stratton Leopold’s father and uncles started in 1919 is now a signature part of the city it draws people to every year.
"It really has been when you think of all the years,’’ Stratton Leopold said. “We want to be part of the fabric of Savannah. We support, obviously, the schools, the library, the military.’’
Only a true Savannah institution that has been around as long as Leopold’s can drop Savannah’s biggest name: Johnny Mercer.
“When Johnny was about 10 or 12 years old, he would work at the shop, sweeping up,’’ Leopold said. “That explains why, whenever Johnny came home to Savannah, he would always come to the corner and see my dad. He had a special booth he would sit at and people watch.”
The Leopold’s story is on every table in the shop; immigrant brothers making their way in Savannah with a family business, making changes through the years, and a new generation making it famous.
Stratton Leopold says there is a simple secret to a century of success.
"For goodness sake, it’s ice cream,’’ he said. “It makes you feel good. Why not?’’
Leopold’s 100th birthday celebration will be held Satruday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Brougton Street. There will be live entertainment, kids activity, and the chance to win free ice cream for a year.