shake

Lynette Justice prepares a Reese’s Cup milk shake at the Shake Shop in Grayson. The store specializes in ice cream treats, but features food, as well.

The old Shake Shop in Grayson has been gone since the 1980s, but the place obviously hasn’t been forgotten.

A new restaurant by the same name opened at the beginning of August, and customers seem to be making up for lost time.

“We thought we’d open up, and things would be slow at first, and we’d have time to work out all the kinks,” said Lynette Justice, who opened the business with her husband, John.

However, opening weekend happened to be the same weekend as the U.S. 60 Yard Sale, which drew herds of people between Ashland and Grayson along the connecting highway. Subsequently, the crowds found their way to the Shake Shop.

“Instead of working things out, we had to hit the ground running,” Lynette said. “We’ve already had to up our staff from nine to 16.”

The new Shake Shop works on much the same principle as Crisp’s Dairy Treat in Ashland — a small, drive-up building that offers ice cream, milk shakes and other frozen treats along with a wide selection of food items.

Lynette Justice said she and her husband wanted to revive the tradition of the Shake Shop, which was a special place for both of them in their childhood years.

“I’m from Elliott County, so, when my family would come up to Grayson, I’d always get to eat at the Shake Shop, and it was a real treat for me,” she said. “My husband grew up here, and going to the Shake Shop was one of his routines.”

In missing that type of establishment, the couple decided to open up their own. When choosing the name, there seemed to be no better way to honor the old tradition than by bringing back the old name, Lynette said.

“We kept going around on the name and it always seemed to come back to the Shake Shop,” she said. “That was such a great restaurant from years past, so that’s what we went with.”

Jill York, president of the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce, said she believes the Justices have a successful formula in place.

“The old Shake Shop was an institution going back even to the ’50s,” she said. “People loved that place, and they missed it.”

The previous incarnation of the Shake Shop was owned and operated by Paul and Jenny Wilson, both of whom are now deceased.

“I think it’s great that we have a place like that again,” York said. “I’ve had a couple of shakes down there, and they’re doing a real good job.”

Running the establishment has fallen mostly to Lynette, with John Justice running the other businesses the family owns in Grayson.

It’s been a full-time endeavor for Lynette. In fact, it’s not unusual for her to start the day at the shop at 8:30 in the morning, and not leave until 10 at night.

Occasionally, she’s stayed at the store until 1 or 2 a.m., but she said it doesn’t bother her.

“I’m a high energy person,” she said. “I’m used to putting in the time, and I’m always up for a new challenge.”

For the present, the Justices plan to keep the Shake Shop open year round, rather than just operate it seasonally, as many other dairy bar owners opt to do.

“If it doesn’t work out, then we’ll see if we want to change things,” Lynette said. “But, right now, we anticipate being open all year.

“When the weather cools down, we’ll probably bring in some daily specials and things like that.”

So far, the experience has been a positive one, with the Shake Shop receiving plenty of business and plenty of approval from the locals.

“We want to provide a good product and good service, because that’s what you have to have to succeed,” Lynette said. “I love the people who come here, and so far we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, so hopefully things are on their way.”

BEN FIELDS can be reached at bfields@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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