The financial burden of the BP oil spill spread to all businesses along the Coast causing many to close their doors, but one local frozen custard joint in Ocean Springs was able to stick it out, and are celebrating a happier anniversary this week: their fifth year of business. Marie Garbin and her family took over Quakes in Ocean Springs in the summer of 2009. The first year, she didn't realize how hard it would be opening a new business in a shaky economy. Garbin says, "It was the economy was bad, property values were awful, and we were opening a brand new business. I didn’t realize how little of a profit you make."
The Garbins hoped the second year would be more promising, then came a disaster no one on the Coast saw coming. Garbin also says, "We came into March thinking, ‘Oh yay, it’s Spring and we're getting busy and everything is awesome,’ and then the BP oil spill hit." The majority of the shop's earnings come from tourism, but the spill left Gulf waters murky and the beaches empty. Garbin says the only reason their business stayed alive was because of the Gulf's cleanup crews that would come eat ice cream after their shifts. Garbin also says, "We're very fortunate to have gotten through all that."
After years of emotional and financial stress, Quakes has finally found its footing, celebrating its fifth anniversary. The Garbins are also expanding their menu, adding burgers, hotdogs, and fries, but the customer favorite remains the homemade frozen custard. Garbin also states, "To make the frozen custard here at Quakes even more delicious, you can add your favorite toppings, like my favorite, cookie dough." Kendall Brown, a customer, says, "I think it’s absolutely awesome." Ellisa Brown, another customer, says, "The fact that we can mix and match our flavors, the girls love the different flavor combinations."
The next step for Quakes, is expanding even further by adding merchandise and more locations. It's been a tough journey after the BP spill, but the Garbins refused to quit. Their philosophy? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.