[UPDATE: Owners Issue New Statement] Stricklands Ice Cream To Close; Landlord Chooses Not To Renew Lease

Photo by Edwin Goei

UPDATE: JUNE 26, 2018: The Weekly has received the following statement from Stricklands owners Randy and Donna Nettles for their customers.

Dear Customers:

Many of you already know that it is with deep regret (and shock!) that we have been informed by our landlord that they have decided not to renew our lease early next year.

We would like to thank all of our wonderful and loyal customers for your business over the past 15 years! Thank you to OC Weekly for your wonderful article this week (and throughout the years), and thank you to all the neighborhood sites who have reposted the article, and all of you who have commented, inquired, called, showed concern and emailed us! We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have received!!

Many of you have asked what you can do to help us remain in business in Campus Plaza, and have offered to petition, picket, etc. We are so grateful to you all! Unfortunately, the damage has been done. Not only do we feel that The Irvine Company has absolutely no interest in changing their mind about renewing our lease, but we have quickly become more than leery about renting from them as well.

It has been our sincere pleasure to serve and support our community, schools, sports teams, clubs, religious organizations, sororities, fraternities, girl scouts, etc. for 15 years and we will truly miss you all.

We are grateful that we will be open through the end of the year and we continue to look forward to serving you! We will be in business as usual for the remainder of 2018, as we continue to explore our options regarding relocation, etc.

Randy & Donna Nettles
Proud Owners and Operators of your California Stricklands Ice Cream


ORIGINAL POST: JUNE 20, 2018: For the past 15 years, Stricklands Ice Cream has been a landmark in Irvine’s Campus Plaza. Although it is the lone California outpost of an ice cream chain that has stores in Ohio, it has become part of the fabric of the community–sponsoring local kids’ sports teams and acting as a “third place” for Irvine residents and UCI students that isn’t a Starbucks.

Lines on the weekend are routine, even on cold nights. It is beloved because it is an ice-cream shop like no other in the state, with gleaming steel machines that churn out freshly made soft serve in chocolate and vanilla, but also two or three additional flavors that change from day to day. Whatever the flavor, the ice cream in the cones are sculpted by a special conical scoop that turns them into shapes out of Van Gogh’s “A Starry Night”.

On our annual Best Of Issue, Stricklands has won Best Ice Cream so many times, it’s hard to count. The walls of the store are covered with similar accolades from TV stations, newspapers, and food bloggers. But first and foremost, Stricklands caters to the community’s tastes. Along with mud pie and Rocky Road, it routinely features flavors such as lychee, Thai tea, green tea, taro, and red bean for Irvine’s increasingly Asian demographic. On holidays, the special flavors come out: pumpkin for Halloween, peppermint bark for Christmas, something tinted green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Early next year, Stricklands tenure in Campus Plaza will end. Word has spread that it will close because its landlord, The Irvine Company, will not renew its lease.

The Weekly reached out to owners Randy and Donna Nettles to confirm and comment on the news.

They write:

“Yes it’s true, we are sad to report that we will be closing in January. Our landlord called a meeting with us to inform us that they will not be renewing our lease in early February, and that they were taking the center in a different direction. Another ice cream establishment, Saffron & Rose, will be moving into the space. We are currently exploring our options regarding relocation, etc.”

The Irvine Company has made similar decisions with long-term tenants in its other properties. A request for comment from the Campus Plaza Leasing Manager has not been returned as of press time.

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.

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