Terry Hartigan began working at a local Baskin-Robbins in Wilmette, Illinois, during the summer of 1974. He was sixteen. Marcia (Savely) Hartigan followed in those same footsteps three years later, and that was how they met. By the summer of 1980, Terry & Marcia were working out details with the owner, Jack Stigall, to purchase the business at the present location. Terry decided to work full time and manage the store instead of pursuing a college degree. Marcia was a sophomore at Northwestern University and working full time to pay for college. A few years later the young couple married and figured they were set for life.
All that changed during the summer of 1996. They severed ties with Baskin-Robbins and put up a new sign:
Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
The challenge was finding a new ice cream product that they really liked. “I remembered a place I used to go to when I was a little girl,” Marcia said. “Every summer my family went to Door County,Wisconsin and we’d get ice cream at this place called Wilson’s. It was the best ice cream I had ever tasted.”
She called Wilson’s. “They told me about this family-owned dairy business in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. My husband and I did a blind taste test with our family, friends, and employees, and we couldn’t believe it. The vanilla ice cream was the best he had ever tasted, and he’s unbelievably picky.”
The key is freshness. CedarCrest makes their ice cream daily without adding any flavoring enhancements. It’s very pure and creamy. As one customer describes, “it’s a very clean taste!” Hartigan’s sells more than 50 flavors, including sherbets, yogurts, and non-fat and sugar-free flavors. Elephant Tracks, chocolate ice cream with a fudge ribbon swirl and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, is one of our biggest sellers. Other popular flavors are Mackinac Island Fudge, Cookies & Cream, and Superman. Many customers wait year round for their favorite flavor to return. Firecracker will be here for the 4th of July.
“Our store is a reflection of our personality and we do everything exactly the way we want. I love that,” Terry said. “Ice cream is one of life’s simple pleasures.” Marcia has been serving ice cream in this community for over 30 years.
Sadly, Terry died in 2004 at the age of forty-six, they had just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.
Marcia continues to run the store with a wonderful family of young employees.
“The greatest reward is seeing the smile on our customer’s faces. That’s the best!”