OWOSSO — Area businesses and residents have collected just over $6,000 to donate to Prescott’s Cone Zone, which was recently targeted by vandals.
Spearheaded by Mark Agnew, owner of Agnew Graphics, Signs and Promotions, the drive raised enough money within 48 hours to replace a window broken by a rock, improve security measures, replace lost inventory and pay Cone Zone employees for the five days of work they missed because of the vandalism.
“This is awesome,” Agnew said of the response to his call to help. “I’m surprised by how quickly it happened but not surprised the community came through. There’s nothing like Owosso. It’s a great place to be in business.”
The ice cream shop has been dealing with acts of vandalism for weeks. First, someone paintballed Cone Zone’s sign. Then, the banners announcing Cone Zone was open for drive-thru business, which Agnew Graphics created and wrapped around the small building, were spray-painted.
On June 9, the day after ice cream parlor fully reopened pursuant to a state COVID-19 executive order, someone threw a rock through the drive-thru window in an attempted break-in.
In the aftermath of the break-in, local businesses rushed in to assist, Cone Zone owner Lisa Prescott said. Paul Davis Restoration cleaned up the piles of broken glass and, within minutes, Hi-Quality Glass replaced the window.
Agnew, seeing that Cone Zone had taken a hard hit, said in a Facebook post he was contributing $100 toward a reward for anyone identifying the culprit and encouraged others to join in.
When Owosso Public Safety was unable to make an arrest, Agnew and the other donors decided instead to give the money to Cone Zone. The first individual to donate was Shelly Ochodnicky, executive director of Homeless Angels and Owosso Public Schools Board of Education member.
“I thought it was a great gesture on Mark’s part, and giving the money to Cone Zone was very appropriate,” Ochodnicky said. “We all want to support the community, and this was a great way to come together for a very popular business in our community. We’re in this together.”
Bryan Marks, owner of Great Lakes Fusion in Vernon Township, stepped up to donate right away.
Even area restaurants, which have had a particularly hard time during the coronavirus shutdown, chipped in, Agnew said.
“It’s been really touching to see everybody open their pocketbooks, when everyone has struggled,” Agnew said.
Prescott, whose Cone Zone is seeing its 21st summer in business, agreed.
“I feel like everybody’s been struggling with the whole COVID thing, and it’s unbelievable to me that people can be so kind,” she said. “We feel loved. People have had nothing but nice things to say since all this happened. It’s truly amazing.”
Agnew playfully suggested one reason for people’s generosity is that Cone Zone provides an “essential” service because everybody enjoys reliving their childhood at the ice cream parlor.
“You’ve got to have ice cream,” he said.
“Cone Zone is such a beloved place,” agreed Cory Agnew, Mark Agnew’s son and manager of Agnew Graphics. “Cone Zone was hit hard, and people wanted to take care of them a little bit.”
Owosso Public Safety Director Kevin Lenkart Monday asked anyone with information about the break-in to call the police department at (989) 725-0580.