History Repeats Itself at this St. Francisville Ice Cream and Gift Shop
It’s after school in St. Francisville and sneaker-clad children beeline for the rustic storefront on Ferdinand Street. Inside awaits a treat trove with endless choices, from 18 flavors of velvety ice cream to vintage and modern candy in every shape and shade. School’s out, homework can wait and the priority at hand is whether to opt for a technicolor Whirly Pop, a two-scoop waffle cone or a cherry-on-top banana split.
But wait. This sugar heaven is only part of the experience at Away Down South, the retail and soda fountain shop that St. Francisville natives Amanda and Lance Deville opened in November 2019. The ice cream and candy store on the right side of the building appeals to the inner child in all of us, while the remainder of the 4,000 square foot space is occupied by an eclectic retail collection of Louisiana-made gifts, housewares, clothing, and food finds.
While the store only recently opened, the building holds a special sentiment for Amanda. It previously held The Shanty Too – a mainstay Ferdinand Street shop that Amanda’s aunt, the late Fay Daniel, founded many years ago. In fact, Amanda grew up working in the store, learning the fine art of customer service and even traveling to retail markets to help select items. Amanda was also placed in charge of the sweet shop side of the operation, eponymously named Mandie’s Candies.
Fay’s passing in 2014 led to an ownership change, but then five years later, the opportunity to buy the building emerged. Amanda and Lance jumped at the chance. With help from Bank of St. Francisville, they purchased the space and updated the interior, giving it a fresh, modern look. They named their new business Away Down South.
“It really was a dream come true,” says Amanda. “It was a place that had held so many special memories for me, and we were really excited to create a new vision for it.”
The store is awash in cheerful colors, inviting displays, and fun finds. Shoppers meander through racks of trendy t-shirts and casual clothing, handbags, key chains, jewelry, picture frames, kitchen and housewares, and edible gifts.
“We’re committed to sourcing our items from Louisiana producers and makers,” says Amanda. “We want to be known for unique things you can’t get in other places.”
On the sweet treats side of the store, Amanda stocks the freezer counter with a brand of ice cream from Wisconsin known for its high butterfat content. The current best-selling flavor is Cotton Candy, with Blueberry Cream Pie and Black Raspberry Truffle also popular choices. On Taco Tuesdays, you can order your ice cream sandwiched in a waffle cone “tortilla” and gilded with some of the 25 available toppings. Handmade shakes, malts, sundaes, and splits give the spot the nostalgic feel of a timeless soda fountain where sticky-fingered kids go to satisfy their sweet tooth at the end of the day.
“It was really important to us that we create a place where the community likes to gather,” says Amanda. “We have a seating area where you can enjoy your ice cream, and we also have benches outside. ”
Just as Amanda once helped her Aunt Fay, the Deville’s children—Beau Dylan, 13, Isabella, 11 and James Hudson, 5—are involved in the family business.
“James Hudson reminds me so much of myself when I was his age,” says Amanda. “I liked to greet people when I was little as they came into the store, and he does, too.”
To learn more about how Bank of St. Francisville can help your dream business come to life, call 225-635-6397 or click here to make an appointment.