NEJC Faces: Nancy Bream, co-owner of TCBY at the Village Shops

By Tommy Sherk, intern

Editor’s note: Today we launch a new weekly feature that will profile people from various walks of life across northeast Johnson County, from the barbers who cut your hair to the kids who play soccer down the street, from familiar faces to people you’ve never seen before. intern Tommy Sherk will be bringing us a new profile each Saturday. We start at an appropriate location as summer starts to heat up.

Nancy Bream, Co-Owner of TCBY in the Village


Did you ever think you’d be in the ice cream business?

NB: Never in a million years. I was a teacher, I entertained real estate… But this is a unique neighborhood. It’s been a wonderful neighborhood to service. When I entered it, I thought, “Well I’ll be in it for five years and then I’ll do something else.” But this has worked for us. I love the people. I’ve had a lot of tremendous high school kids working for me that I’ve been able to follow from 15 to 28, both them being customers and working here.

You have no intent of running out of hot fudge or cookie dough, but sometimes that happens. How the person on the other side responds to you can make or break your day. If we just would treat each other respectfully all the time, from which side of the counter you’re on, boy it would be a lot easier world to get along in.

Do you think this will be your last job?

NB: Well, probably. I’ve been here 18 years, which is about 13 more than I thought I would be, but we want to keep it in the family. We would love to keep this business. My son’s in it with me, and over the last couple of years I’ve given him more of the administrative work, so I get to do more of the fun work, working with the kids and the public and trying to make things an experience when people come in. I do love serving this community. It would be hard to give up because it’s such a bit of my daily life.

When we first opened, we handed out coupons here in the Village. Our biggest fear was, I’ll never forget it, we thought, “Oh my gosh, will anybody come?” That night, we had a line out the door for three hours and we did run out of golden vanilla yogurt. I thought I’d never make it in this business, I didn’t prepare enough. But we laugh about that.

My favorite memories are going through things with families that are exciting, celebrating things with families. That’s the kind of place it is. It’s warm and cozy. My husband had cancer, and they went through that with me, and I’ve gone through things with families when they’ve had a new baby or kids have graduated. Just being a part of the Village… It’s a very special place.

(Answers condensed for publication).