New dairy owners look to the future

New Antietam Dairy owners Cody Gregory and Kerri Ribarchik, and their daughter, Riley, are readying the business for opening day, April 1. NANCY MACE/FOR LOCAL.NEWS

If you’re craving a cone of Antietam Dairy ice cream, it won’t be long now.

New owners Cody Gregory and Kerri Ribarchik have set an opening day of Saturday, April 1, for the dairy at 834 S. Church St. in Waynesboro.

“We don’t plan to change anything,” according to Gregory. “We will work with the community to provide the same level of high quality service and products everyone has come to love. The dairy has been around since 1958 with a great reputation and we want to continue that tradition.”

Gregory said this is a “meant to be” opportunity for the couple, who for the past two years have operated Nanner Bananer Bakery out of the home they share with their children. The bakery’s goods are featured at Mainstreet Waynesboro’s Farmer’s Market, Mason Dixon Creations and other local events.

“We’re nervous but pretty optimistic because of the amazing staff staying on, and support from (former owners) Jake and Cathy Sweet,” acknowledged Gregory. “We’re sticking with what has traditionally been Antietam Dairy. We’ll have the trucks at various community and private events and carnivals, just as it always was.

“We want to have the same relationship and ties to the community that Jake and Cathy have built up over the years. We wish Jake and Cathy the very best in retirement, and can’t thank them enough for all they have done for the community and Antietam Dairy over the years,” he added.

“Our goal is to keep everything the same – same recipes, same ingredients, and the same employees who made the ice cream are staying on,” Gregory said. The dairy features nearly 100 flavors of ice cream, as well as milkshakes, sundaes and banana splits. “We’d like to bring back ice cream cakes and other treats we will be highlighting and sharing through the Antietam Dairy Facebook page.” 

The dairy is scheduled to be open from noon to 10 p.m., seven days a week, depending on staffing. “We want to stay open later to serve the community and be available for late night scoops.

“The biggest key to communication is our new Facebook page – Antietam Dairy – that posted our first public messages March 12. People should go there for updates and information,” added Gregory.

Owners since 1988, the Sweets purchased the dairy from Don and Goldie Meckley. “They started business at the Lyons farm property near Antietam Humane Society. It was Antietam Farm Dairy and it was just milk then. They would pick up golden Guernsey milk – it had the most butter fat – from local farms and then process it. They had home delivery in Waynesboro. … the best chocolate milk,” Jake Sweet said.

“Father time has caught up to us. We’re having health issues and physically can’t do the work any more,” Jake Sweet added.

“Back when we first started we put an ice cream freezer on our pickup truck and go to high school football games and dip ice cream. We bought our first truck from Quincy Home and there’s five trucks now.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. We loved doing what we did,” added Jake Sweet, who thanked their family, including two daughters, and dedicated friends for helping the couple over the years. “Cathy taught kindergarten for 33 years and she enjoyed greeting the little children. We’ve met a lot of good people over the years.”

Pauline Diffenbaucher started working at the business in 1972 and is staying on to make the ice cream. “It’s a great place to work. I enjoy working with people and talking to people. Everywhere we go they’re waiting for you. They  can’t wait until we get there,” she added.

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