The Chief is returning for it’s 17th season this year as it prepares to open next week.
The Chief first opened back in 1962. It was owned and operated by the Petersons, a local family in Goshen.
“We don’t know why it’s called The Chief,“ said current owner Lowell Vanderveer. ”It’s just always been The Chief. ”
Vanderveer and his wife, Jan, purchased The Chief in 1994 after January, a teacher at Fairfield High School, heard her students talking about The Chief being for sale.
“It was by word of mouth. My wife was at a meeting and heard about it being for sale,” said Vanderveer. “We checked it out and about a month later, we bought it.”
The Vanderveers own The Chief with Jan’s brother, Randy, and his wife, Vanessa.
Each year the menu consists of 14 savory ice cream flavors including butter pecan, black raspberry and lemon.
“All of the ice cream is made right here, “ said Vandeveer. “The only thing we purchase is the mix.”
The Chief has been a work place for many local students from Goshen, Fairfield and Bethany High School students, as well as Goshen College students Brittany Hershberger, Kelsey Hershberger and Daniel Driver.
Driver, a sophomore, has worked at The Chief for four years.
“I started working there the summer after my freshman year in high school.”
He says if you have been to The Chief, you know what the lines are like, but despite the hard work, there are it’s rewards.
“If you work at night when it’s nice, you’re going to be moving around all night,” Driver said. “It’s cool though, because you get one free item every time you work. So you can make a huge sundae or take home a pint of ice cream.”
Each year the Vanderveers anticipate a new season at The Chief.
“We look forward to working with our students who come back every year and the community,” Vanderveer said.
The Chief will open next Thurs., April 15.