Pictured above – A rendering of the newly expanded Poppie’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Formerly a mobile cart near the RUC’s ground floor entrance

Cookeville –  Students at Tennessee Tech University are in for a sweet surprise with the opening of Poppie’s Ice Cream Shoppe in the Roaden University Center at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 11.

Formerly a mobile cart near the RUC’s ground floor entrance, the dessert mainstay has expanded with a permanent setup in the Swoops Food Court to include a new ice cream counter, lighting and seating.

“What we’re working on is just a really clean, fresh ice cream shoppe with the vibe of Tech,” said Nick Dolata, director of auxiliary services at Tech. “We wanted to bring in another option for the students to come down, have an ice cream cone or a sundae and share time with their friends. At the end of the day, this is for the students.”

The shoppe’s name pays tribute to the late Millard Oakley, former university trustee and generous supporter of Tech. “Poppie” was the name given to Oakley by his grandchildren. Oakley’s family recalls his love of ice cream – an enjoyment that traces back to his early childhood when he often could not afford the five-cent cost of the frozen dessert. 

Oakley died in 2022 and is survived by his wife Joyce Annette, “J.J.” Oakley, also a longtime friend and supporter of the university. 

As for Poppie’s menu, Dolata explains that all ice cream will be hand-scooped and is sourced from the popular Michigan-based Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream. 

“There will be 12 flavors at a time with vanilla as a constant offering,” added Dolata. “Rotating flavors will allow Poppie’s to provide a wider range of choices. We work with our distributor for seasonal options.”

The shoppe’s decor will include a wall design featuring Awesome Eagle enjoying an ice cream sundae – doubling as an ideal photo-op for students and visitors. 

“The university really wanted to bring something that would be familiar for those who are local,” said Dolata. “Something as simple as ice cream that we all know and love, is what we’re trying to bring to the RUC and Tech. Everybody loves ice cream!”

Poppie’s Ice Cream Shoppe is in the Swoops Food Court of the RUC at 1000 N. Dixie Ave., Cookeville. Once fully opened, regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Sunday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. They will be closed on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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