Sometimes an idea can hang around for years, and when the timing is right, coincidences and the right people will fall into just the right places for that idea to manifest into reality.

The business partners behind the newly-announced Hiawatha Creamery have followed just that type of circuitous path, but find themselves on the threshold of hosting what will surely be one of the hottest spots in town this summer.

One half of the team, Ryan and Kelle Meininger, have been trying to nail down their idea for years. It all started over seven years ago, as the Meiningers worked out a business plan for a classic burger and shake joint, but the timing just never felt right. Over the years, the burgers moved to the side, as the discussion of a local ice cream shop took center stage. In 2017, discussions started with Jared and DeeAnn Hinkle, who agreed that the idea would fill a need in the community. Over the next two years, the group nearly pulled the trigger a few times. Then 2020 happened, and with Ryan and Deeann operating neighboring businesses during the Covid pandemic, planning began to pick up steam.

Along with the business plan that was beginning to take shape, the location and the theme popped up at about the same time. With plans in place, Ryan purchased a vintage Hiawatha Ice Cream sign at an auction. As the business partners discussed putting a new twist on the old name, a downtown spot surfaced, as Mitch and Kristina Romine purchased the old Napa building at 725 Oregon St. The partners approached the Romines, who loved the idea of bringing in the business.

The build-out is currently underway, and the group announced their plans on New Year’s Eve on Facebook, publicizing The Hiawatha Creamery’s opening in May of 2022. With a deal in place with Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, an award-winning ice cream manufacturer out of Madison, Wis., the Hinkles and Meiningers will also serve soft serve ice cream, homemade waffle cones and ice cream cakes, among other specialty items.

Leaning heavily into the nostalgic, the partners said that The Hiawatha Creamery will offer a unique hometown experience, with a consistent and superior product, outstanding customer service and a carefully crafted atmosphere. The owners believe their new business not only fills a hole in the community — adding a fresh name to the downtown block and providing a service that has been noticeably absent in recent years—but that it also helps set Hiawatha apart.

“I don’t think many small towns have the combination of a movie theater, a bowling alley and a real ice cream shop,” says Ryan.

“That’s a fairly unique combination,” DeeAnn added.

The group hopes to provide enjoyable jobs for local youth, while becoming a centerpiece in the community, and putting smiles on faces all over Hiawatha.

Find The Hiawatha Creamery on Facebook and check out the website at

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