In honor of Mr. Jim Aglamesis
I stopped by my favorite place to cheer myself up the other day. It’s Aglamesis ice cream and candy shop in Oakley. I noticed a large portrait of Mr. Aglamesis leaning against the marble counter surrounded by flowers. I thought that perhaps he had retired or celebrated a very BIG birthday, but I was gently corrected by the young woman behind the candy counter who told me he had died. I was startled and so saddened. Mr. Aglamesis didn’t know me, but I knew him by his beautiful store full of everything I ever wanted or needed to brighten my day. I love the shiny glass cases full of hand-made candies laid out with care on small trays, the pale pink wallpaper and the Tiffany glass lamps sitting on the incredibly long marble counter where you stand to order.
Years ago, I used to have lunch sitting happily alone by the sunny windows that look out onto Madison Road, usually ordering a ham salad sandwich with a vanilla malt or my real favorite, a nectar soda. The pale pink foam that sat above the rim of the glass lightened my heart. The unexpected benefit of ordering a malt was that they brought the half cup extra that didn’t fit into your glass to your table. I always looked forward to the simple daisy shaped cookie with a hole in the middle that was placed over your straw as well. It was so perfect. I was disappointed when they stopped serving lunch, but the impact of my lunches alone provided inspiration of how to treat customers in our Tearoom and Café.
The details mattered to Mr. Aglamesis and I followed his lead. It was that attention to detail and a sense of celebration that surrounded each holiday that inspired me at BonBonerie. I still treasure drinking out of their soda glasses with their lovely silver handles or enjoying a sundae from one of those wonderful silver pedestaled dishes. Most ice cream shops are now married to the ease of paper and plastic cups, but for me part of the pleasure is in the vessel that delivers the food. I am all about china cups and antique dishes. Mr. Aglamesis certainly understood that too. He even knew that his gold candy boxes were lovely, but if you would like to get your candy box wrapped with fancy paper and a hand-tied bow on the top, that would not be a problem. Whatever your delight, whether it’s four turtles, three toffees, and six opera creams or a chocolate sundae with pineapple topping, it’s designed as you wish. All that care takes time, a lot more time. I am forever grateful for the gift he’s given me and our community.
When I left Aglamesis that day with my two pints of vanilla French pot ice cream, a box of dark chocolate toffee for my husband, a few turtles for me, and some gold foiled hearts to send to my son for Valentine’s Day, I felt so lucky to have been able to feel the mind and spirit of Mr. Aglamesis. His shop was and is a true inspiration to me. I hope it stays alive and flourishes for generations to come and we at BonBonerie can live up to his powerful legacy of great customer service and fantastic quality in all our products too. Thank you, Mr. Aglamesis.