FINDLAY, Ohio — Our 88 Counties in 88 Days takes you to Hancock County.
Hancock County is where Dietsch Brothers calls home - right in downtown Findlay.
We highlight their history and their hopes to recover after the pandemic is over.
"We are here in Downtown Findlay at Dietsch Brothers. We’ve been here since 1937. We manufacture our own ice cream and fine chocolates. My grandfather and his two brothers originally started the business," said Erica Dietsch Brocamp.
The store's longevity means that generations of customers have passed through the doors and the sweet shop is an anchor for those who have left the area. For many, it's a first stop when returning "back home."
"It’s a mainstay. It’s been here forever," said Carl Schwobel, who was visiting Dietsch Brothers with Suellen Schwobel. "It’s a family operation and it’s been passed down through the generations and it’s all homemade - it’s not imported."
Production Manager Darick Cook, who has worked at the shop for 19 years, has found his niche in the ice cream making room. After nearly 20 years at Dietsch Brothers, he's seen all sorts of people both returning for a taste and making it a part of their local routines.
"People enjoy coming here after the sporting events, coming on the weekend. You know you constantly hear, 'I drove in from Michigan, or I drove from California or I flew in from California'," Cook said. "Just sometimes it’s the first stop when people get to town to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s the last stop on their way out of town."
When we visited, one woman had come quite some distance to satisfy her sweet tooth.
"I have traveled all the way from the state of Washington to get this banana split – it’s that good," she said.
Dietsch Brokamp said that though social distancing and COVID-19 precautions are in place, the desire for something sweet is still strong.
"During times like these and as difficult as it is, chocolate and ice cream just brings a comfort to people," she said.
The Schwobels said they admire the shop's commitment to keeping people safe and still operating even amid the health orders.
"Just sitting down at a table and having ice cream sundaes or sodas until this whole COVID thing is over with, they can’t do so. I think the people realize what’s going on," Carl Schwobel said. "No, I think there’s an absolute commitment on behalf of the small business community as well as the large corporations that are here. And I think there’s a community commitment to try to get through this the best way possible and stay safe."
Cook said he hopes that the decades that Dietsch Brothers have been in existence and the solid customer base that has built up through the years will see the shop through this pandemic.
"We hope COVID doesn’t get the best of us, but it’s obviously apparent that small businesses are struggling so, but I don’t think so," he said. "I think people will pull through for us, and in the end, we’ll pull through for them."