East Peoria ice cream shop experiences newfound support during pandemic

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Carrie Foster says it’s pretty much business as usual for her team at Twistee Treat, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Well, my first thought—I panicked for a couple minutes, but then I thought, ‘Everything’s going to work out. Everything’s going to be fine.'”

carrie foster

The restaurant has become somewhat of a landmark in East Peoria. Those driving by can easily spot the massive ice cream cone that serves as a storefront. The business has been a part of Foster’s life ever since she started working there at 15.

“I worked here you know through high school and college and through my teaching career in the summers,” Foster said.

So when the time came for the former owner to retire, Foster jumped at the opportunity to step into the role. The East Peoria native decided to buy Twistee Treat three years ago. She never anticipated she would have to navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster said, “I’m retiring this year from teaching and then I thought, ‘Well if this gets shut down, maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t have retired.’”

While businesses across central Illinois are struggling because of the pandemic, Foster said Twistee Treat is experiencing a different result.

“We’ve gotten a whole new customer base because people say, ‘I’ve never been here. I’ve always wanted to stop here and we’ve been wanting to support local,'” she said.

In terms of operational changes, Foster said she has had to shut down the dining room. But she has been able to remain open accepting walk-up orders. The customer demand has led to her hiring additional staff, whose other jobs turned them away.

As for right now, Foster said she doesn’t have long-lasting concerns. But she does hope the community’s support for local business continues on.

“It’s–you know that saying: You never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do. And this is my happy place,” she said.

Twistee Treat is located at 1207 East Washington Street in East Peoria.

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