It was, after 20 years, give or take a few days, the end of a Glover Park landmark - MAX'S BEST ICE CREAM. Max, and his wife Marsha, ran a true "mom & pop" store (yes, in THIS century) that was maybe as well know for it's photos as it's delicious ice cream. I don't know exactly how it started, but apparently they began taking photos of the customers who came in to enjoy a special treat. These photos ended up as collages of hundreds of smiling faces. Not only youngsters I'll have you know. Included there too was Al Gore, Joe Biden, Former Secretary of State James Baker, Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Former Attorney General Janet Reno and tennis player Andre Agassi and others! Among Max's avid customers were Laurie Stongin and Allen Goldberg. They would take the boys in for ice cream and they'd stick around to converse with Max and Marsha. They, along with so many others were saddened to discover that Max would be closing his doors. Allen and Laurie wanted to somehow, in some way, keep the spirit of Max's Ice Cream alive and, in the end, they succeeded.
They later explained to me it was an awkward moment... They believed that welcoming warm glow of the neon sign that hung in the window could SOMEHOW be saved. They mustered up the courage to inquire what Max was planning to do with the sign. After finding out he had no plan they tactfully asked if they could buy it from him. Max refused any money but asked them to "give it a good home". That's where I came in!
Laurie, a friend and neighbor, asked me to come by to take a look to see if I had any ideas. I had a true love and recent curiosity about neon though I had never ventured into that world - here was my chance. Allen, Laurie and I worked together to design the sign's new look. We used all but two pieces of the neon that Allen and his son, Jack, had carefully disassembled in the store. With the help of Bill Miller, a man of forty plus years in the business, we learned how to go about the technical aspect of the final product.
The piece would have a retro feel with a painted board behind it. After I applied appropriate retro colors I took a palm sander to it to really age it along but not past it's prime! Max's Best Ice Cream opened in 1992 so I hand painted "Since 1992" in the bottom right hand corner. Laurie and Allen have indeed given it a good home as it brightens their day, and their neighbors walking by, as it hangs proudly in their living room right above the couch. Max's Best Ice Cream lives on!