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Erma’s to fill Dairy Boy spot

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 6, 2015


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Custard spots always seem to have a cult following, and the newest dessert sensation to come to St. Clair Shores is no different.

Erma’s Original Frozen Custard, which opened in 1942 on Auburn Road in Utica and which also has a location in Warren, is taking over the Dairy Boy Ice Cream store on Harper Avenue, north of Martin Road, that closed in July after the death of proprietor Joe Peters Jr., 55, of Warren.

Peters, the owner of three Dairy Boy stores, was found unresponsive in the St. Clair Shores shop July 19 by customers.

At that time, however, the owners of Erma’s Original Frozen Custard were already in negotiations to buy the store, said Jason Eagle, marketing director for Erma’s.

“He (Peters) was looking to kind of downsize,” Eagle said. “We had been looking at expanding.”

It was in the middle of negotiations that the owners of Erma’s were contacted by Peters’ wife, Cathy Peters, to let them know of his death. Later on, however, she let them know that she wanted to proceed with the sale.

“Of course the decision didn’t come lightly. It had to be made, and we are very honored and very blessed — and when I say ‘we’ I always include my husband, Joe — that Erma’s is coming there to St. Clair Shores,” Peters said.

Before Joe Peters’ death, there were Dairy Boy locations in St. Clair Shores, in Eastpointe and at 1826 Gratiot Blvd. in Marysville. She said she made the decision to keep the Marysville location and is happy that the St. Clair Shores location won’t just sit as another empty building.

“Unfortunately, there’s only me now, and a decision had to be made,” she said. “We love Erma’s. We hope that the community supports and loves them as we do. Jason (Schoenherr, one of the owners of Erma’s) and his whole crew there, his staff, they have been nothing but kind, supportive and loving with me through this huge traumatic ordeal that I have had to have gone through.”

Peters said she is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received from the community since her husband’s death.

Erma’s opened its newest location at 28840 Harper Ave. on April 1, and a grand opening celebration with prize giveaways is set for April 18. Eagle said Erma’s serves frozen custard in vanilla and chocolate, plus a bonus flavor that changes each week and a special flavor that includes nuts, candies or fruits.

“We do off-the-wall flavors and (try) new combinations depending on what kind of flavor profiles are popping up in the market,” Eagle said. “We’ve had a big eastside following for years . ... We’re looking forward to serving our fan base.”

There is all-new equipment installed in the store, which also received a fresh coat of paint, more countertops and shelving.

Erma’s Original Frozen Custard opens on April 1 each year and operates through October 31. It is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, and from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. during the summer months.