If you’re a Northern Indiana native with a sweet tooth partial to ice cream, you’ve likely enjoyed a scoop or two from Sallie’s by the Shore, a local ice cream shop currently based in Winamac that has been serving up sweetness for the past five years. The shop’s name was inspired by its first location in Rochester, a lot near Lake Manitou with a view of the water, and co-owner Catherine “Sallie” Evans’ nickname.
“I’m also a musician alongside my husband, and my stage name is Sallie,” Evans said. “When we opened our first location in a camper near the lake, Sallie’s by the Shore was too sweet not to use for our company name.”
Evans’ parents, Jennifer and Dan Knebel, operated a dairy farm years ago, and the family always talked about making their own ice cream.
“I grew up feeding the cows, milking, and eating plenty of ice cream at county fairs,” Evans said. “Back in 2015 we finally decided the time was right to explore our family dream and attended ice cream school in Florida that winter.”
Upon returning from school, Evans and her mother decided to start using their new ice cream skills right away. They found an adorable 10-foot 1939 Century camper to use as their unique camper storefront model, and affectionately named her Daisy.
“We quickly outgrew Daisy’s small space and upgraded to a 36-foot 1953 Vagabond camper,” Evans said. “People love our vagabond, Agnes, and she created a huge buzz, making Rochester a go-to destination for ice cream enthusiasts from near and far.”
In the past six years, Sallie’s has had ice cream shops and stands in Rochester, Bass Lake, Culver, Plymouth, and Winamac. Currently, Winamac is the only open location, though it is open year-round and always adapting to satisfy customers.
“We are always growing and changing, trying to find what works best for our unique business model and ice cream company,” Evans said.
Sallie’s provides a unique ice cream experience, using real ingredients to create a gourmet product served up with top notch customer service.
“When customers visit a Sallie’s location, they know what to expect for quality and customer service, and that is excellence,” Evans said. “We expect excellence from our employees, and they go out of their way for us and the customer to make Sallie’s an extra special visit.”
At Sallie’s, customers can enjoy their frozen favorites in a friendly, vintage-style atmosphere that can’t be beat.
“We play vintage music, decorate with authentic vintage decor from diners and soda shops, and also have a great collection of lake and camping gear,” Evans said. “When a young child comes in with her grandparents, you will most always hear the grandparents say, ‘I went camping in one of these!’, ‘This is the music I danced to with your grandpa in High school!’, or ‘That was actually an old juicer, dear!’. We are so happy to bring a special experience to people that makes for wonderful memories.”
For Evans, scooping up smiles at Sallie’s is made even sweeter with her mother by her side.
“The best part for me personally is working with my mother. I don’t know too many gals my age who get to spend as much time with their momma as I do, and also get along so well. Well, most days,” Evans joked. “We also just love the smiles we create for people. People are generally happy when eating great ice cream, so it’s a fun business to be in.”
This year, Sallie’s was voted one of the Top 20 Ice Cream Destinations by Visit Indiana, a testament to their years of dedication and unique flavor. The summer heat might be fading but Sallie’s is still going strong, preparing to launch a variety of new ice cream flavors for the upcoming holiday season.
“We welcome everyone to come and see us at our Winamac location this fall and winter,” Evans said. “We have our delicious holiday flavors that are truly unmatched and can’t wait to share our unique small batch ice creams with you!”