New creamery opens in Manchester, with help from Northeastern students


The Friday night game ends and hundreds of people empty the stadium, heading to the local hangout.

That was the image Brian Klinger envisioned for Bobcat Creamery, a new restaurant and ice cream shop at 117 S. Main St. in Manchester.

The 44-year-old Conewago Township businessman owns a helicopter service and a mulching business, both jobs that he said come with their share of stresses. He wanted his latest endeavor to be fun, he said.

He bought the building after Iggy Bops Ice Cream closed in December, and he decided to up the fun factor by giving Northeastern High School students the opportunity to build and manage the business.

Klinger recruited students from business-focused classes and Future Business Leaders of America. His board of directors is a group of 14 students in grades 9-12.

A handful of adult managers oversees the restaurant, which opened last Thursday.

Hands-on learning: For students, it's a chance to apply and practice the skills taught in the classroom.

"They can see the process being put into reality," Klinger said.

FBLA is an organization that prepares students for careers in entrepreneurship, management and other business fields. Students in the Northeastern chapter are not simply attending conferences and competitions that work toward that mission — they are already working on a business, he said.

Students in computer-assisted design classes designed the interior and exterior of the sports-themed restaurant, which features Northeastern Bobcat jerseys on the walls and the school district's signature orange and black.

Even the name Bobcat Creamery was student-created. Kalie Stroup, a junior FBLA member, won a contest to name the new restaurant, Klinger said.

The restaurant has been a great learning opportunity for the students, said Northeastern School District assistant superintendent Stacey Sidle.

"The Bobcat Creamery is located right in the middle of town, and some teens work there," she said. "I see it as a great community spot where school and community really come together."

To further the community goal, Klinger declined to bring televisions to the restaurant because he wanted to encourage socialization and communication, he said.

The menu includes American diner favorites and soft-serve and hand-dipped ice cream and sundaes.

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