Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
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Trish Morgan

How many of you can remember the many yesterdays when the streets of Keyser were alive with shoppers, and businesses were open all over Main Street into the dark hours? Also, remember when you could stop at different mom and pop stores and stands to buy freeze pops, fudgesicles, sundae cones, snowballs, banana splits and ice cream? There were stores like that all over town. I sure remember. Every little small town in America most likely had the same thing. I miss those days, don't you?

I just loved those old-fashioned stores that didn't mind having scores and scores of children and families stopping by after street kickball games, volleyball, swimming, baseball and softball games, fireworks, and other town activities! My favorite stop was the custard stand, which was formerly located near Markwood Funeral Home on Mineral Street. I remember many times there were long, long lines to get ice cream there! What a treat!

To this day, ice cream is one of my favorite desserts. It just reminds me of childhood, family life, playgrounds and carnivals - ya know, the old-time life, the simple life, the old-fashioned life. Just about any flavor will do, but don't offer me black walnut or maple anything. Just no. However, if you offer me Whitehouse cherry, chocolate almond, peach, black raspberry, butter pecan, cheesecake anything, Moosetracks - yes is my answer!

Now. Let's talk about snowballs (some call them sno-cones). I love all of the flavors, but my friend Brenda Bland asked me to try HER favorite - egg custard with marshmallow. Frankly, that name did not appeal to me one bit, and I had NEVER heard of marshmallow on a snowball. But, I ended up taking her advice, and now, THAT IS THE BEST ONE EVER!

Coming soon to the city of Keyser is yet another new business to bring life and vibrance to the downtown. Tania and Royce Plauger, residents of Keyser for over 26 years, have decided that Keyser needs some of these things brought back! They are the new owners of The Dairy Barn, which is slated to open in early July on Armstrong Street next to Queens Point Cafe.

Just coming back from a revitalizing vacation to Florida, they are putting on the finishing touches of the ice cream shop. Their son Zachary - who is age 21 and working on his bachelors degree in computer information technology at WVU - will be a major player in the family business. Zachary has three years' experience in management of an ice cream business.

Tania is an RN at Egle Nursing Home, and has plans to retire in the near future. The Dairy Barn is where she will enjoy her retirement years. Royce still works at his full-time job, but in his spare time, he is helping to get The Dairy Barn open.

The business' new logo was designed by their daughter Kayla, who is married to Eric Tobergte, and they live in Winchester, Virginia.

This "mom and pop" shop has some really great ideas that soon will come to fruition, and my thoughts are that we may soon see some long lines for their offerings! When speaking with Tania, she stated, "My biggest challenge in getting The Dairy Barn open has been finding the perfect location, and then working to open the business while I've been employed full-time at Egle. I've found the most fun has been the ideas process, and coming up with the process and the core."

The Dairy Barn will be dine-in or take-out, and their shop hours will be as follows: Monday-Thursday 3-9 p.m., and Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 3-9:30 p.m. Their initial menu will include soft serve ice cream (always vanilla, chocolate and swirl), Flavor of the Day, milkshakes, sundaes, splits, frozen lemonade and orange juice, and 28 flavors of snowballs - including my favorite!!

The Plaugers, once opened and operating, may add to their menu based on customers' needs. Ice cream cakes are one thing they are considering already. Right now, there are plans to remain open to November, but that could change, as well - depending on how busy The Dairy Barn is. Besides, I eat ice cream year 'round. How about you?

I suggest you put The Dairy Barn on your calendar for an early July opening, and put their phone number, FB page and email address on file. For those who love ice cream and snowballs like me, I want to remember that date so I can be one of their first customers. It's my understanding that with the loss of Shivvers to the Keyser community, The Dairy Barn will be the ONLY place to buy snowballs other than the occasional Kona Ice visit - so for that reason alone, I am on board!

Here is their Facebook link for all of the updates -


I don't know about you, but new business to small-town life is exciting. New faces, new products, new employees - plus refurbishing previously-owned business spots and creating new enterprise? We need this. Look around. See empty offices and potential spots for an idea you might have? Seize the opportunity. There's nothing like owning your own business. Research your demographics, find a niche, take your ideas and build on them, and open up a small business. Yes, you can do it! The Plaugers are doing it, so can you.

Good luck Dairy Barn. Moooooooooooove on over, y'all. I'm getting my egg custard snowball with marshmallow real soon!!