Churn It Up
The Old Custard Stand Remains Family-Owned More Than 20 Years Later
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Michael Durr
Amidst the extensive commercial development throughout Fishers that has resulted over the past 10 to 15 years, you’ll notice a quaint business at the corner of State Road 37 and East 141st Street. It’s not hard to tell that it used to be a residential home, and, for the past 20 years, it’s been home to a quaint mom-and-pop operation that serves up fresh custard, hot dogs, sandwiches and other treats to locals of all ages.
Owners Kay Harvey and her daughter Tiphany Leppert founded The Old Custard Stand two decades ago after taking some inspiration from another custard shop, the Sycamore Drive-In, in their hometown of Logansport. The two had been working in the construction industry and became intrigued by the prospect of a family-owned, old-school eatery with walk-up and drive-through windows exclusively.
“Mom would take us up there to the Sycamore as kids and we would really enjoy it,” Leppert recalls. “It’s been around for so long, and I thought it was neat that a place like that could be successful for such a long time. I really liked the idea of a mom-and-pop store with fresh custard and fresh food.”
Leppert’s construction business offices happened to be just down the road from the building that would eventually become home to the eatery, and as she drove by the building nearly every day she felt it would be perfect for a neighborhood custard stand.
“There was nothing here back then, just cornfields all around us,” Harvey says. “It’s been interesting to see this area grow so much since back then.”
From March through October, The Old Custard Stand opens up its two walk-up ordering windows, drive-thru window and outdoor seating and begins churning out fresh custard daily. The staff sticks to a simple philosophy — strive to offer great food and great service, and people will show up.
“I also think what’s kept us busy is not just that we make everything fresh, but that we’re a family,” Leppert says. “When people come up to the window here they know it’s going to be one of the three of us — me, my mom or my cousin Karen who also works here every day — with our part-time people, and we’re going to serve them well.”
All the custard is made fresh every day, and chocolate, peanut butter, butter pecan and mint chocolate chip are just a few customer favorites. Daily selections can also range from cookie dough, coconut and blueberry to English toffee, pistachio and caramel cashew.
“Lemon custard has really taken off lately, and snow cones sold like crazy last year,” Leppert adds. “We have the chipwiches, the chocolate chip cookies with custard filling, that are popular, and mom also makes homemade peach cobbler with a scoop of custard on it, which is a big seller.”
The Stand’s food menu is also made fresh in-house, and includes sandwiches like chicken and ham salad, club and hot or cold ham and cheese, as well as chili cheese dogs, walking tacos (chips with lettuce, tomato, cheese and beef), nachos and sloppy joes.
Harvey and Leppert bring on seasonal employees to help with the big crowds that summertime tends to bring out, and Leppert lets her part-timers make their own schedule.
“It’s kind of unique to do the schedule that way, but that way the girls we hire are accountable for their shift and if they can’t make it they have to find someone to fill in for them,” Leppert says.
Twenty years in, Harvey says she still gets new customers every season, as well as dyed-in-the-wool regulars.
“We’ve seen kids come in here as toddlers and we’ve watched them grow, and they still come in,” she says. “We have employees who have gotten married and bring their kids back now. It’s a family-run place and people tend to come back to that once they discover us.”
When asked if she’s ever considered expanding or adding an interior dining area, Leppert’s response is a fitting encapsulation of what has made her business work for so long.
“Never — if it’s not broke don’t, fix it,” she says.
Visit The Old Custard Stand at 9270 East 141st Street in Fishers. For more information call 317-776-3800 or visit them online at facebook.com/OldCustardStand.