Sunday at Joe’s

Ben Robinson/Courier

The staff manning Joe’s in Easley Sunday included Taylor Baumgarner, Cody Tardiff, Jesse Holder, Mary Beth Albertson, Julie Ellison, Austin Hatcher and Austyne Douglas. “Every person who walks through that door is a blessing, and we need to appreciate our blessing or someday they might go away,” Ellison said her father, longtime restaurant owner Joe Lesley, told her.

By Ben Robinson, Courier Staff

Sundays are pretty much a dead time for businesses across Pickens County, but by Sunday afternoon, one place in particular is packed with customers.

The Easley Ice Cream Parlor, better known as “Joe’s” after its longtime owner Joe Lesley, has a regular crowd on Sunday afternoons.

“For a lot of people, coming here is just part of their Sunday schedule,” said Julie Ellison daughter of Joe and unofficial manager of the restaurant. “We get church groups, people who work together through the week and many others. We just know we appreciate them letting us be a part of their Sunday.”

The restaurant is packed on most weekdays, but Sundays draw a special crowd.

“There are a few church groups who are pretty regular,” Julie said.

“Some just come maybe once a month or so,” she said. “Sometimes somebody like a college student will be home for the weekend. We’re honored that they want to come here and relive old memories. Everybody who eats here is special to us.”

But the weekend customers do not necessarily get second-class service.

“We have many different staff members here than we have on weekdays, but many have been coming here so long, we feel like they are family,” Julie said. “And we want them to feel like family.”

On most Sundays, Joe and his wife Carolyn are working.

“Dad and Momma really love Sundays, because they get to see some people they may not have seen in a few years,” Julie said. “My Dad loves it when somebody brings a new baby with them. He’s been hugging these children for quite a few years, and he’s always glad to see them come back.”

Generally Joe remembers everyone’s name, but sometimes he turns to Julie for help.

“He can usually tell me everything about someone except their name, but it is sometimes hard for him to remember somebody’s name,” Julie said. “That comes with age I guess. But often he’s better than I am in remembering somebody.”

Julie holds to her father’s philosophy on customers.

“Dad says that every person who walks through that door is a blessing, and we need to appreciate our blessings or someday they might go away,” Julie says. “We’re just so happy so many choose to spend their Sunday afternoons at Joe’s.”