But Yanow, 65, said neither he nor the ice-cream shop at 1700 S. MacArthur Blvd. are going away. Mindi Gutmann, the store’s manager for 23 years, has purchased the business. Yanow also plans to remain active in the MacArthur redevelopment effort.
“”The last couple of years, my wife and I have said 41 years is a longtime to run a business,” said Yanow, “especially one that’s open seven days a week, twelve hours a day, 364 days a year, even though I don’t work those hours. No owners works those hours, but the idea is you’re still responsible for the business,” said Yanow. He said he and his wife, Sherry, also are expecting their first grandchild this spring and want to be able to travel. He and Gutmann began to discuss the possibility of her taking over several years ago. “She is my right and left hand,” said Yanow.
Cruising the strip
Gutmann recalled that MacArthur Boulevard was a happening street for the city’s youth in the late 1970s.
“When I was in high school, everybody cruised MacArthur Boulevard,” she said.
Gutmann, who went to work as manager in 1988, will co-own the store with her husband, Nate. She said no immediate changes are planned. “We want to try to run it as good as Glenn did,” said Gutmann. “Hopefully, we can expand a little bit and maybe add more outside sales.”
Baskin-Robbins has provided employment for generations of Springfield youth, said Springfield police officer Matt Goulet, who was among longtime customers and former employees to wish Yanow well last week. “It was one of my best jobs in high school. It was ice cream, and MacArthur was the social strip,” said Goulet, who is now coordinator for Crimestoppers of Sangamon and Menard Counties. Future doctors, lawyers, dentists, helicopter pilots and judges also worked at the store through the decades, said Yanow.
A boulevard comeback?
Yanow said MacArthur Boulevard took a turn for the worse in the past two decades with the loss of traditional retail and entertainment anchors such as National Foods (later Schnucks), the Esquire Theater and Kmart.
“The traffic hasn’t changed. What changed is that people no longer had a reason to stop here,” said Yanow. Yanow said he plans to remain active in the MacArthur Boulevard Business Association, which was formed six years ago to promote redevelopment of the corridor between South Grand and Wabash avenues. The biggest success to date has been Hyvee Corp.’s announcement that it plans to convert the former Kmart on MacArthur to a supermarket. Construction could begin this spring. “I think Hy-Vee is going to be a turning point,” said Yanow.
Other than travel and visiting family, Yanow said he has no immediate plans. He said he might do consulting work for Baskin-Robbins or some other jobs, so long as it isn’t in direct retail sales.“I’m not going to work retail,” said Yanow. “But if I find something I like, I like to stay busy.”