Yesterday was Stricklands Ice Cream last day in business. The ice cream shop that has hosted many wonderful memories and happiness for all of Irvine and the Orange County community at large is being forced to close after 15 years in business. Its landlord, The Irvine Company, chose not to renew its lease earlier this year. Last June, I wrote an article announcing its imminent closure and dreaded the day it would come.
It was supposed to be December 31st.
But due to high demand, Stricklands issued this message yesterday on Facebook yesterday:
“Closed tomorrow. Thank you for your overwhelming sendoff!! We’ve had a line out the door for days, and we’ll be out of dairy mix soon! We’re sorry, but we have no choice but to close the store one day early. Today will be our last day/night until we run out. WE WILL BE CLOSED TOMORROW, DECEMBER 31. We are so sad to be leaving all our wonderful customers and friends! Thank you all again for a wonderful 15 years!!”
After seeing this message, we rushed over. Although all the ice cream was sold out by the time we got there, we were able to get one last treat: handspun milkshakes, which were being offered at half-off.
A rush of competing emotions came over me as I took a drag of the thick strawberry milkshake from my straw. I was happy and grateful that I got to be there on the last and final night of service. But then, as soon as the sugary surge melted away, the feelings of profound sadness and loss set in.
Stricklands represented a physical, brick-and-mortar connection to countless fond memories of my past. And it seemed like an injustice that it was being taken away. I would’ve had different emotions had the owners, Randy and Donna Nettles, decided to close up on their own terms.
But then, my feelings turned to hopefulness. The fact that they aren’t closing voluntarily actually provides a real possibility that they will reopen elsewhere–somewhere where Stricklands Ice Cream can make new fond memories in perpetuity.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.