About Us

Cream City History

Cream City originally opened in the late 1890s as Consumer City in the same proximity as it is now. Consumer City made milk and other dairy products which were shipped to the north by covered wagon. The Whitaker family owned the dairy manufacturing business, and through its evolution the name changed to Cream City. In 1948, the building that housed Cream City at that time burned down. A new building was constructed and completed in 1950 and is the same building which stands today.

At the time of the new construction, a 3-ton neon sign was erected on top of the building proving to be a tourist attraction along Highway 70. The neon sign has been featured in several magazines and was named one of the top 100 neon signs in the country by American Road Magazine. The old 1930s Cream City Ice Cream "Take some home today" sign that was originally displayed on the outside of the building still proudly hangs inside the store today.

Old image of Cream City Ice Cream Box

In 1986, a prominent ice cream company purchased Cream City Ice Cream to shut it down as its production became a major competitor. After this, the existing building housed many other businesses including a café, an accounting office, a T-shirt shop, and even living quarters. However, the 3-ton sign and its neon magnetism attracted passer-bys to mainly ice cream.

The structure became what it was meant to be again in 2011 when Cream City Ice Cream and Coffee House opened the doors to the public once again as an ice cream shop. The downtown area has officially been titled the "Cream City Historic District" as displayed by the city of Cookeville on designated signage. The atmosphere provides some modern ice cream design but holds true to its roots with glimpses of photos and signage from its heritage of ice cream soda fountains of yesteryears. The mixture of ornament provides just the right setting for young kids, an older generation, and all those in between to enjoy ice cream, milkshakes, malts, coffee, frappes, smoothies and so much more!

About the Owners

Cream City is a family-owned business that Chris and Karen Savage have owned and operated since 2013. With a passion for the community they call home, the opportunity to take on stewardship of this iconic part of the history of Downtown Cookeville has been a dream come true. 

The Savages are both Tennessee Tech graduates (engineering & marketing) where they met and later married in 1989. Chris grew up in Nashville, TN and Karen is from Crossville, TN. After meeting at TTU and having several opportunities to leave the area for various jobs, the Savages chose to stay in Cookeville and raise their family. Over the years, both have been very active in the community and the school system. Serving as school volunteers, PTO president, coaches, elected officials, club members, and bible school teachers have given them opportunities to meet their closest friends and be involved in the growth of the Upper Cumberland.

Their son, Caleb, a nurse at Cookeville Regional Medical Center; daughter-in-law, Lexie, an accounting and education teacher at Prescott South Elementary; and daughter, Courtney, a biochemistry graduate, are also TTU alumni. Their other daughter, Chloe Grace, attends the University of North Georgia where she plays basketball and is a math major.

Each family member works or has worked at Cream City and has been a huge part of its day-to-day operation since the beginning. Chris and Karen take pride in providing jobs for not only their children but relatives and other college students in the local area.

The Cookeville community - as well as the nostalgia of the charming downtown area - are key factors of the success of Cream City for the past decade. The delicious, handmade ice cream and freshly roasted coffee offered are what keeps customers coming back time and time again. Plus the smiling faces of the staff helps a lot, too!

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