Deb's Story
A Bit of Deb's Story

Deb's Ice Cream & Deli is a story of a family business tradition, community roots, food service, floods, but certainly not famine.   Following in family footsteps that have been serving Cedar Rapids food since 1964, Deb opened the ice cream store and deli in 1987 and is still listening and watching for new ways to entice new patrons and satisfy her 'regulars' on a daily basis.  

Deb, the youngest of three children to Emil and Christiane Allick, has had her hands in the production and delivery of food since she was a young child. Fast with numbers and comfortable with customers, she ran the cash register for her father at his deli, Emil's, long before she was a teenager.   Her brother slowly came to run his father's deli, and Deb continued to help when she could, even after graduating high school and beginning to pursue other career options.
In a classic case of happenstance, in 1986, Baskins & Robbins in Cedar Rapids filed for bankruptcy, and the owner approached Deb in an effort to offload freezers.    She knew her father would periodically piece out equipment for people, and she figured this was another opportunity for him to make a little off of 'buying low and selling high'.   But Deb's mother saw in those freezers an opportunity for Deb to leap from an employee with 'career options' to being her own businessperson.

So Deb's mother began a full-court press to bring Deb into the family business tradition, convincing Deb to open an ice cream store...and maybe add a deli for the cold months to offset the loss of ice cream sales,   They utilized the freezers as a launch point.   Her mom promised Deb the assistance of her parents to make the deli a success. Though Deb had plenty of experience in the running of a deli, and certainly the family had a lot of experience, the idea of running a deli of her own was a bit daunting.    Like a bride-to-be, many different urges to flee ran through her as opening day approached.

Deb's opened in a crowded field of food service stores, with over 30+ competitors serving the downtown.   One downtown businessman, made it a point to tell them they were crazy for opening in such a crowded field and gave them 6 months.   She opened the store with ice cream, a deli, and offering catering.

That was 23 years ago.
Since opening, Deb's has seen a number of major events. As promised, her parents helped Deb when needed, and she found a niche for her store that she has been able to sustain.   Deb was able to go from being a renter of space to an owner of her store when the building owners made her an offer in 1996 that she had to take. She further involved family by dragging her sister into helping with upgrading the front of the building and the interior, in 1999 finishing this major rehab.


In the meantime, there has been a lot of water under the to speak.