Handel’s relocation: The inside scoop

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Eva Kennedy/The SPOKE

New and improved: Handel’s relocates across the street to a larger building. The move has allowed for expanded facilities and more efficient service.

By Vanessa Chen and Eva Kennedy, Staff Reporters

It’s a warm Friday afternoon, and groups of friends from T/E Middle School and ’Stoga are walking downtown to socialize and enjoy ice cream, as usual. This time, though, the students’ final destination is not the familiar Handel’s property next to the Berwyn Shopping Center, but rather the parlor’s brand-new building across the street.

Since its opening in 2005, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream has been the social gathering place for many in the T/E community. The shop, which offers a wide variety of frozen treats and a relaxing atmosphere, has become a popular hangout for friends and families of all ages. While many customers were surprised by Handel’s recent relocation to the other side of Lancaster Avenue, it has allowed for a different setting with much more to offer.

“It’s a lot newer (and) it’s a bigger space on the inside,” said junior Jack Block, an employee at Handel’s. “There’s more parking for people — there’s a garage next to (the new building). It’s just more convenient for the customers and the people working there.”

The process of Handel’s relocation began around two years ago. As the property’s lease was ending, owner Buck Buchanan purchased what had previously been the Easttown Township building behind the old Handel’s, with the intent to move his business there. However, Buchanan then began to receive offers on the old township building.
“I really wasn’t interested (in the offers) until I found out that the strip center alongside (the old) Handel’s would probably never be developed if it wasn’t a larger parcel that would include the property I owned,” Buchanan said. “I then felt it was in the best interest of the village for me to sell (the old township building) to somebody who would do a good job developing it.”

According to Buchanan, the plans to develop the land were at first opposed by residents who didn’t want to see change. The struggle went on for two more years until the building across the street opened up, and Buchanan decided to move Handel’s there.

The parlor worked with building inspectors and the township’s health department, purchasing new equipment and exterior additions to the new building. On Oct. 7, the Handel’s held its grand opening.

“During this time of year, we start to get less customers because it’s getting colder. But (now) people are coming out to see the new location. So it’s pretty busy,” Block said.

With five additional benches, significantly increased parking, and more widespread lines across the order windows, the Handel’s experience has improved in both ease and efficiency.

“You get more space to walk around (in the store),” said sophomore Ishaan Kharva, who works at Handel’s. “It makes it easier to work…and now the line is more spread out rather than one big line before.”

Some of the old building’s physical aspects are missed by community members, including the white billboard in front of the property that advertised Handel’s seasonal flavors and upcoming events.

“Many (customers) missed the sign that we (would) change with a little bit of humor and goodwill on a regular basis,” Buchanan said.

Overall, though, Handel’s new location has received praise and seems to be a welcomed change to both student life and the wider community. According to Buchanan, the store’s move is just one component of the plan to transform downtown Berwyn into a safer and more open center, with new sidewalks, crosswalks and plazas.

“The plaza (next to Handel’s) where there are tables and chairs and benches is for the community,” Buchanan said. “There will also be a similar plaza built across the street where the old Handel’s was. So we should have a very nice gateway into Berwyn.”


Vanessa Chen can be reached at [email protected]

Eva Kennedy can be reached at [email protected]