John’s Ice Cream: Made with love from Maiden

Staff Writer

John and Charlene Staton share a passion for making homemade ice cream

The Maiden couple are so successful at it, that it's became a self-sustaining business for them over the past 19 years.

Their story starts back over 33 years ago when the two met at Carolina Mills Textiles in Newton.

Both in their thirties, the co-workers quickly fell in love.

After they were married two years later, the pair started having ice cream socials for their neighbors.

Charlene had learned how to make ice cream as a child from Gladys Hart, her mom's mom. So, it was only natural for her to want to keep making ice cream with John.

“We'd be out in the yard on Sunday and Charlene would say she wanted to make ice cream,” John said.

Everyone loved their ice cream so much that the idea soon came to start a business.

It was good timing, considering that their paint business was not doing so well.

“Our paint business went kerplunk and we went right into the ice cream-making business,” he said.

John had been collecting hit and miss engines for years and liked to travel to small engine shows.

He wanted Charlene to get one so they'd have something in common at the shows.

“She said she didn't care about it, but then found one she liked,” he said. “She came home and said, 'I found me an engine,'.”

They took the engine with two ice cream makers on it and made a go of it.

Their first show was at the Old Soldiers Reunion in Newton. The next show was in Hillsville, Virginia with 150, 000 people.

“They worked us to death, but we got through it and learned how to make ice cream,” John said. “The festival paid for what we'd invested.”

At first, they created recipes while sitting at home, but now they're making them up on the go.

“We have four that we make all the time,” John said. We always make vanilla, chocolate, peach, and strawberry.

He said they throw in a different flavor daily to add variety.

“Today it will be butter pecan and tomorrow coconut,” John said.

Their ice cream is so popular that now they travel and make ice cream for different fairs and festivals.

This year they've been to five so far, driving to and fro in their camper.

“We start in April and end in October,” John said. “We travel all the Eastern coast from Pennsylvania to Key West, Florida.”

The pair stay busy.

“We're running all seasons,” John said. “It gets bigger without me wanting it to.”

Their favorite place is Cummings, Georgia, where they first went for a small engine show.

“They liked us so much, they wanted us to come back and do a fair,” John said.

The Statons do two big shows a year there now.

“They take care of us like brothers and sisters,” John said.

The pair really enjoy traveling, meeting people, and being creative.

“We just do a lot of stuff we didn't do at the house,” Charlene said.

“We've met a lot of stars, and you go into a town and they hug you up and make you family,” John said.

The pair have met Lorrie Morgan, John Anderson, and Sammy Kershaw to name a few.

Charlene has a book that she keeps their photos and other memories in.

“We just like meeting the people that we meet along the road-- they say that's the only reason they come to the fairs is to see us,” John said. “We plan to just keep on a going, because if we stop, we'll hurt a lot of people.”

The pair recently enjoyed celebrating their 30-year anniversary in Manassas, Virginia.