EL REWIND: Tasty Twist
Many East Lansing locals have a special place in their hearts for Tasty Twist, the soft-serve ice cream parlor on Grand River Avenue. Through the years, Tasty Twist has continued to be a gathering place for citizens young and old.
The establishment opened its doors in 1954/1955, and though the original owner is unknown to the current proprietor, Scott King, it is known that Max “Red” Vanvleck acquired the store in 1959/1960. In 1984, it became independent and took the name “Tasty Twist.”
In 1974, King began working at the parlor and in 1989 he decided to purchase it. The store sat on a piece of property that was owned by many entities including the gas station which sat beside the small hut that was Tasty Twist.
Those who remember when Tasty Twist was a small, red and blue hut on Grand River also remember the excitement surrounding the day it would open again after the long winter. Karen Henry, who grew up in East Lansing and raised her daughters here, recalls the weekend the establishment would open, and how her children would make posters welcoming it back. Like Henry, many EL residents anticipated Tasty Twist’s annual re-opening because it marked the beginning of another East Lansing summer.
In 2008 the store was purchased by a new owner, and by the autumn of 2009, Tasty Twist had been asked to vacate by the end of the year. In January of 2010, “The Twist” found its new home in the location of a newly-closed Baskin-Robbins on Grand River.
“The community’s reaction and support through the move was just incredible. Life changing.” says King. “We try to give back to the community through support and donations to schools, churches, student groups, and local events. We couldn't do it without the support of the greatest community I know of.”
Henry described Tasty Twist as part of family rituals, a place to go after soccer games, concerts, and school curriculum nights. “Tasty Twist is also our community's number one supporter of all things” she added, “carnival prizes, sports team sponsors, you name it. If you need prizes for anything, you can count on them.”
Many locals consider Tasty Twist to be part of what makes East Lansing such a united community. “Tasty Twist has always been a sort of icon of my childhood, and really a sort of centerpiece to the community of East Lansing.” noted recent East Lansing High School graduate, Alexander Watts. “You can’t go there without seeing someone you know. It’s just a genuine, homegrown business that has bonded the whole city, and I think that’s really beautiful in a way.”
Scott King and his family are “immensely grateful” for those who have worked, and continue to work for them. “They make us who and what we are.”
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