Q&A: Clyde Dosenberry tells the story of Doozie's Ice Cream Place, appreciation for Mount Pleasant

Clyde Dosenberry stands outside of Doozie's on their opening day Friday, April 1 at Doozie's Ice Cream Place.

Doozie's Ice Cream Place has long been a Mount Pleasant staple and the man behind the counter, Clyde Dosenberry, is somewhat of a local celebrity. Not only is he the owner of Doozie's, but he built the shop himself in 1985 and has been running it ever since.

Growing up on a small dairy farm in Barryton, Michigan, Dosenberry has been in the area for most of his life. He graduated from Barryton High School and then went into education for nearly 30 years. When the state of Michigan was having financial problems about 10 years into his career, Dosenberry wanted to have a backup plan in case he was laid off from teaching. 

Being a licensed builder, Dosenberry decided to build his own ice cream shop to combat that possibility.

Dosenberry is an active member of the Mount Pleasant community. He partners with local sports teams and supports the local schools. 

Central Michigan Life sat down with Dosenberry to learn more about his love for Mount Pleasant and his most memorable experiences running the ice cream shop at 1310 E Pickard Rd.

Central Michigan Life: What does the Mount Pleasant area mean to you?

I’ve been in this area all my life, except for four years when I was in the air force when I went to Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Italy and France. When I’d go over there, I’d hitchhike home from Turkey to Detroit on aircraft planes. It took me 36 hours to get home, traveling 9000 miles.

What is something that not a lot of people know about you?

I was a licensed builder, so that’s why I built Doozie's. I have some rental houses that I putz with during the wintertime, doing repairs on them. I like to do woodworking and I enjoy cars. I’m kind of a car-nut, I have four or five vehicles.

I taught for 32 years. After I’d been teaching for about 10 years, the state was having financial problems with schools and I was the low man on the totem pole for seniority, and I thought I was going to be released from teaching… I was looking for something else to do and looked at several things, but the ice cream thing kind of bounced out so I built the ice cream shop.

How do you tell the story of how Doozie's was built?

When I originally built Doozie's, I thought about building it and getting it going after two or three years, then selling it to make some profit on it. But after about three years, I decided that I enjoyed doing it and I could see where it could be a little bit more profitable, so I just hung onto it.

 What is your favorite thing about owning an ice cream shop in Mount Pleasant? 

I think I get the most enjoyment out of meeting a lot of the people that come in for ice cream and working with a lot of young people. I’ve been very fortunate with a lot of young people that have worked there.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I generally do some putzing on the rentals, woodworking (and) do a little traveling. Like a month or so ago… I did a little road trip out to Oklahoma (and) New Mexico. (I traveled) 3800 miles mostly just driving the roads, stopping to see some stuff on Route 66 and some of the different towns. Being an old farm boy, I enjoy seeing some of the agricultural stuff that you see out that way. Tractor dealers and different equipment that you see out in that area compared to here, and the landscapes. 

Oh, and the number of windmills in the panhandle of Texas. They’ve got 10 times as many as we do here. You’ll find a field of them, and they’ll be three, four hundred of them.

What is your favorite thing about Mount Pleasant?

Having taught here and been around here most of my life, I enjoy the people that I know and enjoy going to the restaurants. We have a pretty good variety of restaurants here compared to other towns. I just enjoy the life around here.

Do you have a lot of business from Central Michigan University students?

I think we have quite a bit, yeah… It’s kind of interesting because in the spring when we open while CMU students are here, I would say our business is probably 50 to 60 percent CMU students. Local people kind of tend to stay away because it seems like the CMU students are willing to stand in line longer than the local people are. But once central is out, in the summertime, then it’s 70 to 80 percent local people.

What’s it like reopening for the season? What are some things that you have to do to prepare?

We have to get all our stuff ordered. We have to get all the ice cream machines cleaned, sanitized and put back together. We have to get all the stuff organized. For the arctic swirls, we need all the different toppings. We have to clean the place up from sitting over the winter and check water lines to make sure nothing froze up over the winter. We need to get the outside cleaned up, trash and whatever… and get some people hired – including training new people.

What’s your favorite thing to get at Doozie's?

I think we have a very good vanilla soft serve ice cream. I just really like the flavor, the texture, the coldness. For hard ice cream, I do like butter pecan or Moose Tracks. 

What would you recommend people get from Doozie's? 

Arctic swirls. We have 93 flavors. I would say that arctic swirls probably account for 40 to 50 percent of our business. The two flavors that account for half or maybe more (of those orders) are chocolate chip cookie dough and Reese’s peanut butter cup.