No losers in Horton ice cream war


Stacie Messner; Al Kempf; Robbie Messner; Peggy Kempf; and Emily Messner, all of Jackson, enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, nachos and ice cream after doing spring yard work.

Your life your style – By Monetta Harr

Consumers are the winners as two ice cream eateries are open within eyesight of each other in the village of Horton. Frosty King, 200 N. Moscow Road, is marking its 30th anniversary this year. And in January, The Brown Cow opened at 274 N. Moscow Road.

“I think it’s great,” said Heather Lancaster of Hanover. “The more ice cream places the better. If you don’t like the flavor of the week at one, just drive down the road to the other.”

Both places have extensive menus, burgers and fries as well as ice cream concoctions. The burgers and hot dogs are what brought one family on a recent Sunday afternoon, after doing yard work.

“We knew this place had good cheeseburgers,” said Stacie Messner of Jackson. “We didn’t know about The Brown Cow, we haven’t been there yet.”

Both ice cream owners seem to welcome the competition.

 Emmett Lancaster, 4, and his sister Annabelle, 9, of Hanover, opted for mint chip ice cream at The Brown Cow.

Emmett Lancaster, 4, and his sister Annabelle, 9, of Hanover, opted for mint chip ice cream at The Brown Cow.

“Any competing business in such a short distance will always play a factor, but the history and involvement Frosty King has with this and surrounding communities is important,” said Landon Gorzen, 35, who bought Frosty King last year from his father Ed Gorzen and stepmother, Jo Lynn Curry.

It is Curry who built The Brown Cow on 10 acres just down the road from Frosty King.

“I don’t see where there is an issue,” Curry said.

“Spring Arbor has three pizza places but each has their own twist. McDonald’s and Burger King sell burgers and fries and are next to each other in many locations and each does well. We have different vendors and ambiance,” said Curry, referring to the two ice cream venues.

Gorzen, a 2000 graduate of Hanover-Horton High School, works full-time as a locksmith for the State of Michigan in Lansing and then works at Frosty King evenings and weekends.

“When Frosty King was built there were a few sit-down restaurants here but nothing quick and easy. So we sold coneys and burgers and gradually expanded the menu, although in summer, ice cream is the main seller,” he said.

frosty king

A drive-up window and windows in front of Frosty King serve patrons.

One change Gorzen made was adding a flavor of the week to the menu. Peanut butter is the favorite flavor. And he offers various flavors “twisted” together, such as coconut and lime, strawberry and lemon, and mint with chocolate.

Meanwhile, Curry offers hard and soft serve ice cream, sandwiches and other foods are posted on the menu. There are nine different style burgers, 18 different style hot dogs, and sides that include everything from fried green beans to a soft pretzel with hot fudge.

Curry, 59, said there is a history to her having an ice cream place in Horton.

“My cousin started The Brown Cow in 1937 just down the road from where we are now. She retired in early ‘70s and I’m the third generation. My daughter is the fourth generation and my grandsons will be the fifth generation,” she said.

brown cow

This sign along Moscow Road in Horton welcomes people for food and ice cream.

The family traveled to quite a few locations before they decided to order their hard ice cream from a family-owned ice creamery called The Chocolate Shoppe in Madison, Wis. But more than ice cream and food, Curry wants her place to be a family destination. This summer she is putting in a pavilion to host free community events and will have “cones and crafts” for kids on a regular basis. A walking trail will be created in the 10 acres, batting cages will be added and she plans to show outdoor movies on Friday nights.

As far as Robbie Messner, 17, is concerned, either place works well for him. As he spooned an Oreo flurry while seating at a picnic table with his family at Frosty King, all he could do is smile.


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  1. Tim N.

    May 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    So… why did The Brown Cow close after being open only a few months?

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    August 1, 2017 at 10:17 pm

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