Locally-owned Marble Slab Creamery in Aiken celebrates 12 years in business
Dewey and Barbara Spivey opened a Marble Slab Creamery in Aiken over a decade ago, but many people don’t realize the store is locally owned.
The Spiveys said they have had to struggle with the image of being a cog in the corporate wheel rather than a locally-owned business.
“People don’t realize that this is a locally owned and operated store,” Barbara Spivey said. “Everyone thinks we’re this big corporation which is not true. This is our store. We either make it or we don’t.”
Barbara said that many people don’t realize the ice cream sold at Marble Slab is made by the Spiveys themselves. Aiken Ice Cream also makes their own product; most other ice cream stores in Aiken use soft-serve ice cream made out of state.
The Spiveys also make their own sorbets, waffle cones, and some of their own yogurts. They have desert options for people with diabetes and lactose intolerance.
“We make our ice cream in-store, twice a week,” Barbara said.
Now that he is retired from his previous job, Dewey Spivey works hands-on in the store, doing tasks that, as an owner, he could easily assign to someone else.
“I make the ice cream, I wait on the customers, I bake cakes, I do it all,” Dewey said. “I wash dishes, mop floors, clean windows. If you run a business like this you have to do it all. You have to lead by example.”
The Spiveys opened their Marble Slab in March 2006. They considered locations like the Augusta Mall and other shopping centers on Whiskey Road, but they chose their current location after Barbara saw a sign on the wide of the road that said “Wait on God.”
“I called Dewey and said, ‘Dude, this is where it’s got to be,’” Barbara said. “The Lord was sending us a sign.”
In that time, Barbara said they have employed hundreds of young adults and teenagers.
Barbara said they could have opened a Cold Stone for a lot less money, but the Spiveys believed too strongly in the product of Marble Slab to settle for less.
“For what we opened this store, we could have bought a house,” Barbara said.
“And the sad thing is, everybody thinks we’re a corporation,” Dewey said. ”... We own the business, we live here, we work here. This is our livelihood. Marble Slab doesn’t own this store, we do. We bought the franchise, and a lot of people got a misconception that this is some kind of big corporation. It’s not.”
However, because they own a Marble Slab, there is only a certain amount of creative leeway the Spiveys have with personalizing recipes
“That’s one of the downsides to having a franchise,” Barbara said.
Marble Slab is located at 152 S. Aiken Lane.