Twisty Cone was built by Don and MaryAnn Tharp in
1982. They originally called it Kristy Kone, named after an Arkansas
ice cream stand they used to frequent as a young couple. The Tharps
had moved here from Michigan in 1978 intending to semi-retire after
selling their sand and gravel business up north. But they saw a
need and an opportunity in the quiet suburb of Melbourne that didn't
have many businesses and fewer restaurants. In the early 1980's,
Kristy Kone was surrounded by empty land and very little car traffic
traveled Malabar Road from the only 20,000 or so Palm Bay residents.
The days were slow, but at night the cars would come and the lines
stretched to the street for hours. Palm Bay had been introduced
to the Tharp family and loved the treats they were serving.
Mr. and Mrs. Tharp worked the business along with their teenage
son Steve and it kept growing. Don
and Maryann always had a smile, handshake or a quick laugh at the
ready for their customers.
Don Tharp quickly gained a reputation as a funny
character who loved to banter and win people over with his Arkansas
drawl. They hired and trained many Palm Bay teenagers to work the
windows - expecting them to be quick and friendly. Michelle Tharp
(then Michelle Hill), worked at the shop the first summer it opened
in 1982. She later returned to work there a few summers home from
college. That was when she met and started to date her future husband,
After 5 years, in 1987, Don and Maryann decided to lease the ice
cream shop to a couple from Ohio so they could build a
new business next door, Tharp's Tire Store (now Tharp's Complete
Auto Repair & Transmission). They retained ownership of the
building and land throughout. The Ohio couple ran the business until
1996 when they decided to leave.
At this time Steve & Michelle Tharp, now married, accepted the
older Tharps' suggestion to give the business a go. They gutted
the building, changed the name and basically started from scratch.
They launched with a bang in August 1996, giving away free ice cream
cones for two weeks. They worked 12-16 hour days, seven days a week
for months and months. They hired 2-3 employees and then slowly
added more until Steve could finally go back to work at Tharp's
auto repair business next door.
The business continued to grow as Palm Bay residents came back time
and again for the Tharp Philosophy of Business....great ice cream,
good prices and friendly faces who remember the "regulars".
Since 1996, Twisty Cone or "Tcone" has grown into the
shop you visit today. Our recipe for success includes updating our
keeping all the treats our customers have enjoyed for 32 years.
We are open 363 days a year only closing Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We truly take pride in our shop and our staff is the best! Every
Twisty Cone team member is trained in the "Three C's",
Cleanliness, Consistency and of course Customer Service! We know
our customers are visiting us for a "treat" and want them
to leave happy and satisfied.