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May 8, 2014

Moo-ving into New Albany: Comfy Cow opens Saturday

Building at 117 E. Market sat empty for years

NEW ALBANY — Terry Middleton’s Kickboxing/Martial Arts/Boxing School has been located at 117 E. Market St. for 42 years. And for most of that time, the building at 109 E. Market has sat empty.

“It was an eyesore,” Middleton said Thursday.

In the last six months, that eyesore has been transformed into a home fit for a cow — a Comfy Cow.

The New Albany Comfy Cow ice cream parlor will open at 11 a.m. Saturday. The franchise has four locations in Louisville, but this will be the first one in Southern Indiana.

Not only will downtown New Albany now house a popular ice cream shop, but the dilapidated building will once again house a functioning business.

“It was in awful shape. The previous owner’s family locked the door with everything left inside,” said Ian Hall, who along with Lincoln Ogden own the New Albany Comfy Cow. “It had to be completely renovated, but a lot of the material was repurposed.”

The original hardwood floor was saved. The inside of the building has the feel of an “old time ice cream parlor” Hall said. However, he said it’s the product that will keep customers coming back.

Known for its ice cream, The Comfy Cow will also sell ice cream cakes, pies, milk shakes and other novelties.

“I think the ice cream is the main attraction. It is all made by hand,” said Hall, who along with his wife Nikki own The Exchange Pub + Kitchen in New Albany. “We use high-quality ingredients, which sets [us] apart. It’s kind of a fun and funky place that appeals to everyone — both kids and adults.”

The store, which will have 12 to 14 employees, will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“I think it’s great,” Middleton said of The Comfy Cow opening Saturday. “People are putting dollars into these buildings and businesses down here and are trying to make it. Everybody is working together to make it happen. I am tickled about it.”

The work to rehabilitate the historic building began more than six months ago and Hall said the harsh winter slowed progress. This is the second downtown structure he has put new life in over the past two years.

“Definitely a couple of years ago, this was not on my radar,” he said. “We had a struggling business and we were looking to reinvent ourselves. The downtown has come together and we are really happy to be part of it.”

There will be an official ribbon-cutting event at noon Saturday along with other special features, including a visit from The Comfy Cow mascot.

The Comfy Cow launched in Louisville in 2009.

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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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