Page 5 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- May 2019
P. 5

MAY 2019
Dona LaPorte, owner of Jim’s Dari-Kreme, prepares an ice cream cone. LaPorte has owned the store for decades.
LaPorte Still Going Strong at Jim’s Dari-Kreme
By Jordan Beck
ESCANABA — Though summer has not arrived locally just yet, people in the area can still visit Escanaba institution Jim’s Dari-Kreme. The business has been owned by Dona LaPorte for decades.
“I’ve been here for 40 years,” LaPorte — who is now 87 years old — said.
LaPorte is not the store’s original owner. From 1950 to 1958, it was run as a grocery store by Clarence and Kay Johnson. Then, Jim Unger took over, owning Jim’s Dari-Kreme until 1970. Don and Thelma Cousineau ran the store from then until 1979, when LaPorte took own- ership of Jim’s.
According to LaPorte, the longevity of Jim’s has been the result of multiple factors. “I think we sell a good product, and we have fantastic help,” she said.
LaPorte has also remained personally dedicated to the business’ success.
“I’m here every day — I don’t miss a day,” she said.
Jim’s specializes in soft-serve ice cream. The store has taken steps to keep its offerings fresh over the years.
“We like ... finding new sundaes, and the one this year is the Pothole,” LaPorte said. True to its name, the Pothole Sundae consists of vanilla ice cream poured around the edge of a cup, leav- ing a “hole” filled with a variety of toppings.
Slushes, chocolate-covered bananas, milkshakes, banana splits, sundae shakes and “slush pops” are also sold at Jim’s.
“That was one we made up,” LaPorte said of the latter item, which is an ice pop made from the store’s slushes.
Jim’s has a number of traditions it has maintained over the years.
“Every 1,500th person ... we give a free ice cream pie,” LaPorte said.
Some of these traditions are tied to the end of the school year.
“The last week of school, we give free ice cream cones to Webster School. We’ve done that
for 40 years,” LaPorte said. On the last day of school, a “pajama party” is held at Jim’s; cus- tomers visiting the store that day while wearing pajamas can get a discount.
The interior of Jim’s is decorated with photo collages of the store’s customers and history. Dolls are on display around the store, as well.
“A lot of them are on consignment, and some are mine — I have a huge doll collection,” LaPorte said of these dolls. She also noted she has over 10,000 dolls in her house.
In the future, LaPorte said she is aiming to move out of her role as the owner of Jim’s.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sell it this year,” she said. She went on to say she plans to sell the business to her grandson Austin St. Vincent and her “surrogate grandson” Trevor Sebeck.
LaPorte said she plans to stay involved with Jim’s Dari-Kreme. “If I sell it, I’ll still be here,” she said.
Bay College To Offer Pre-robotics Program
KINGSFORD - Matt Barron, vice president of Academic Affairs at Bay College and Kimberly Muller, dean of the College of Innovation and Solutions at Lake Superior State University. have signed an articulation agreement for students pursuing an associate of science degree in pre- robotics engineering.
Students can now spend two years at Bay achieving an associate s degree in pre-robotics engi- neering followed by two to three years at LSSU to earn a bachelor s degree contingent upon the student being calculus ready when entering college.
Additional articulation agreements between Bay College and LSSU include computer engi- neering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering technology, and mechanical engineering technology.
We are grateful for our strong partnership with LSSU, said Barron. This articulation agree- ment builds on the solid foundation we have between our schools and offers another opportunity for students enter an engineering degree pathway.
The agreement was signed March 16 during the FIRST Robotics district competition hosted by Kingsford High School.
For more information visit
It’s All About
906-786-2021 Ext. 156 •

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