One of Jackson’s most longstanding and iconic local businesses, Michael’s Ice Cream, now has a new statewide claim to fame.

This past week, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation announced that Michael’s Ice Cream had emerged as the popular winner of its statewide “Ohio Ice Cream Battle” in which the public was invited to cast votes online for their favorite ice cream place. The voting ended last Sunday, July 26.

Michael’s Ice Cream competed against 32 other ice cream stores or eateries. Michael’s finished in first place with Toft Dairy and Ice Cream Parlor of Sandusky coming in second place and Dietsch Brothers Fine Chocolate and Ice Cream of Findlay finishing in third place. Michael’s benefited from a lot of hometown support and promotion, especially from Kim Harless, who is a senior organization director for the Ohio Farm Bureau, and is also a loyal customer of Michael’s. Other local Facebook groups and individual members were obviously very supportive.

The current owner/operator of the Michael’s Ice Cream, Meeka Mohler, told The Telegram she was “pleasantly surprised” when she learned about winning the Ohio Ice Cream Battle as she realizes it’s a testament to the popularity of Michael’s ice cream products and the strong support of the customers.

Mohler represents the fourth generation of the Michael family to be at the helm of the family-owned-and-operated business. Michael’s Ice Cream was founded in 1909 by Mohler’s great-grandfather, Joe Michael, in a building located at the corner of Portsmouth and Water streets, which is across the street from the current Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Family members have continued to be in charge of the business throughout its long history.

In 2001, Michael’s Ice Cream moved to its current location at 223 E. Main St. in downtown Jackson and has remained there ever since. Mohler, took over the business after the deaths of her father and stepmother, Tom and Joan Michael, both in early 2015. Had she not chosen to do so, it’s likely the business would have either been closed or been sold outside the Michael family.

Michael’s Ice Cream is best-known for an ice cream dish known as the “Bubble,” which Joe Michael himself introduced to the business. The concoction of ice cream, marshmallow, chocolate syrup and crushed peanuts has become a distinctly delicious Jackson treat over the years, making Michael’s a mandatory stop -- not just for locals, but for former residents visiting in town, and for strangers who want to try something new.

Mohler says she’s been told by family members that Joe brought the Bubble to Jackson form his native country of Lebanon. Another Michael’s tradition that has been maintained through the years is fresh roasted peanuts, which are still displayed in large pans in the store’s front window. However, the menu also features multiple flavors of ice cream as well as an array of ice cream-based dishes, a line of sandwiches and sides and a daily special for the lunch crowd.

For more information on Michael’s Ice Cream, check out its Facebook page.