The Calgary Stampede is always a huge part of the year for so many businesses in the area around the city.
And at MacKay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, it’s all about carrying on a family tradition that goes back a long way. Welcoming Stampede visitors at MacKay’s is something that’s been happening since 1948.
The family that runs the shop is now celebrating 75 years of serving customers.
“Wow — that’s a long time to be here,” customer Rhianna Smith said. “Lots of small businesses don’t make it, so 75 years is a long time.”
The anniversary makes the summer of 2023 an extra-special one for members of the MacKay family.
“We’re super excited!” shop manager Meghan Tayfel said. “We are now at the fourth generation of our family, so this is a really big milestone for us.”
Tayfel’s grandfather, James MacKay, started making and selling ice cream at the shop on Cochrane’s main street in 1948.
“He was using his grandmother’s recipe for making ice cream,” Tayfel said.
Tayfel’s 14-year-old daughter Isabella is now behind the counter serving customers, the fourth generation of her family to do so.
“I just remember always trying to bribe my parents to give me a scoop of ice cream,” Isabella Tayfel said.
Rhona MacKay also grew up in the shop, helping her dad James by putting together cardboard tubs to contain the freshly-made ice cream.
MacKay says the business’s 75th anniversary is a memorable moment for everyone connected with the shop.
“My mom and dad would be so proud,” MacKay said.
Paying a visit to the shop is part of the Stampede fun for customers from all kinds of places.
“We’re from south Wales, in the U.K. — it’s something we have to do before we go home,” customer Shaun Gealy said.
“My wife’s maiden name is also MacKay, by coincidence, and she came here to visit family many years ago, so we’re repeating the tradition with our four-year-old daughter.”
MacKay’s Ice Cream is holding an official event from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday July 30, inviting people to join them in celebrating the anniversary.
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