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The Suburbanite
  • Taggart's receives outpouring of support following robbery

  • A few hundred people turned out between noon and 4 p.m. Saturday to support Taggart's Ice Cream Parlor in the wake of Thursday's armed robbery. Local community members, business and organizations formed a cash mob, a group that spends money to stimulate a local business, after news of the crime spread via Facebook.
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  • Taggart's Ice Cream Parlor was prepared for the onslaught of customers Saturday, but the owners were not.
    "It just really grabbed us by surprise," owner Ernie Schott said.
    A few hundred people stopped by the longtime establishment between noon and 4 p.m. Saturday to support business in the wake of Thursday's armed robbery. Local community members, businesses and organizations rallied to form a cash mob, a group that spends money to stimulate a local business, after news of the crime spread.
    Downtown residents Maranda Saling, owner of Bellflower Communications, and Cassie Ausperk, account manager for the United Way of Greater Stark County, created a Facebook event for the cash mob Friday. They shared it, then watched it grow.
    "It's absolutely amazing to see how many restaurants, businesses, community organizations all over Stark County shared the page with zero reservations if it was going to take business away from them on the day." Saling said.
    More than 3,000 people were invited, and about 270 RSVP'd to the event.
    Saling credits a Facebook post from Chicken Manor Family Restaurant, urging the community to support the ice cream parlor after the robbery, for alerting her to the news and inspiring the idea. She also coordinated the event with Kim Hostetter, who manages Taggart's Facebook page.
    The crowd Saturday exceeded their expectations.
    "When I went in the front, I was just like, 'wow, all these people,' " Hostetter said. "It was different for a Saturday afternoon."
    Schott said it likely was a record day at Taggart's. He estimated the event brought in about double the business and said servers "turned tables" six or seven times in the four-hour period.
    But those involved said Saturday was about more than money. Taggart's, at 1401 Fulton Road NW, has served the Canton area since 1926. Ernie and Patti Schott became its fourth owners in 1998.
    Saling said Saturday was a show of support for local business and a way to fight back against three teenagers who tried to threaten a community institution.
    "Had this been a business that didn't run so deep, I don't think that we would have had the success that we did," she said.
    Three males in their late teens wearing masks and hoodies robbed the store about 9:24 p.m. Thursday. There were no known updates as of Sunday, according to Canton police.
    Schott said he went to the business Thursday night after being notified and learned an employee was made to empty the cash register and safe at gunpoint. Three customers also were robbed.
    In their nearly 16 years as owners, the Schotts said they never before have had a problem with safety. Now, they have hired off-duty police officers for security. An officer will be in the store and available to walk people to their cars during the last four hours of the business day.
    Page 2 of 2 - Taggart's hours have been shortened for winter and safety, closing an hour earlier Sunday through Thursday. The new hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
    "We just want to do whatever we need to do to make both the patrons and the staff, to put them at ease and make them feel safe," Patti Schott said.
    Since the robbery, the Schotts said, longtime patrons have assured them they're not going anywhere, and Saturday's support only bolstered the couple's resolve to keep serving ice cream.
    "The city just put their arms around us," Ernie Schott said.
    Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323 or
    kelly.byer@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @kbyerREP