That’s why the couple ended up moving to a farmhouse in Catawba, right between two towns reminiscent of Jodi and Kevin’s home: Claremont and Catawba. After living for years on Lake Norman, where the Tarkovichs barely knew their neighbors, they sought a slower pace of life.
After moving to their horse farm in 2018, the couple decided to add something to the area.
“We always wanted an ice cream shop,” Jodi said. “When we decided to move from Lake Norman to Catawba County, we thought, ‘Where does everyone go to get ice?’ Being closer to Catawba and Claremont, in that radius we never really saw anything with ice.
In August 2019, the Tarkovichs opened Catawba Creamery in the heart of Catawba Town. While some people doubted the business would last, the ice cream shop thrived, Kevin said.
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“As we started to share our idea, some people said, ‘It’s never going to work’ or ‘You can’t count on people in town to support you,'” he said. “We wanted to prove them different, prove them wrong – and we did. Because we are here for the city. These are the people we associate with, connect with and give back to.
The Tarkovichs have integrated into the community. They have organized fundraisers for charity and sports teams. During the 2020 COVID-19 closures, the Catawba store got a walk-in window, so people could stay socially distant and still enjoy an outing. The couple take time each week to talk with customers and get to know each other, Kevin said.
“That’s how we grew up, where everyone knew each other or helped each other, and we just wanted to get back to that,” Jodi said.
With success in the town of Catawba, the couple decided to expand the business to Claremont. In April, Catawba Creamery’s second location opened in downtown Claremont.
Both ice cream parlors offer over 30 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream. The Tarkovichs say they have methods for keeping ice cream fresh and tasty, Jodi said. Both places attract people looking for dessert after a meal, families with multiple generations enjoying a day together, and people coming over for lunch, Jodi said.
Seeing customers enjoying the ice cream reminds Jodi and Kevin why they started the business, Kevin said. “We did it because we loved ice cream,” he said.
For more information, visit www.catawbacreamery.com.