In 1978, Tom and his wife Chris King saw a delicious business opportunity in Lewes, Delaware–opening up their own ice cream shop. Tom’s father already owned King’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop in nearby Milton, but the couple thought the “beachy” town of Lewes was perfect for a second location. Up against the recession of the late 1970s, risky interest rates, and humbugs, the Kings decided to risk it all to create what would become a nightly summertime tradition.
After purchasing a general store in 1972, the patriarch of the ice cream business, Earl, opened the first King’s shop to great success, offering decadent flavors by the scoop (or the gallon) to sweet-toothed tourists and townies alike. Located in one of the oldest buildings in Sussex County (circa 1830), Earl’s ice cream shop quickly became a communal hub, and Tom wished to build upon that flavorful tradition scoop by scoop. After only one year of being located within a local hotel, the spot was so popular that the Kings needed to quickly move their new franchise over to its current location in the heart of town on 2nd St. Take that, ice cream naysayers!
The ice cream shop in Lewes melted itself into Lewes lore, attracting thousands of visitors each year. It became a rite of passage for local high schoolers to spend their summer days behind the old-fashioned counters, learning how to craft the most sinful sundae.
Now for over 40 years, King’s Homemade Ice Cream has served up some of the best memories along Delaware’s coast. The cherry on top of it all? Tom and Chris’ daughter, Chelsea, along with her husband purchased the company in 2010. Adding new flavors such as funfetti and Dutch chocolate, the third generation of the King family keeps the legacy alive while also sharing something new with its beloved community. It’s no wonder this decadent dessert destination commands respect and adoration… just like royalty.