Seventeen years ago, Michael and Shelli Micheli decided to start a business in a family-owned building. Their story has an interesting start as they credit Dean Pine, whose family owns the Jer-zee Drive-In, to helping them begin. Pine helped the two obtain a loan. The pair also notes the friendliness of the other ice cream vendors in Marion.
“The cool thing is, we’ve all helped each other over the years. We have the same equipment as other places, so we all contact each other and reach out when we need help,” said Michael.
Though Mega Moo changed hands in November of 2021, the Micheli family helped with the transition to the new owners until February 2022.
Crowd favorites varied depending on the time of day. Lunch was usually coneys, barbeque pork, and chicken sandwiches. Hot fudge sundaes or cookie dough flurries were the sweet treats of choice later in the day.
“A lot of our shakes were made with real ingredients; we didn’t use flavoring. We used real peanut butter, real bananas, and real strawberries,” noted Michael.
Both agree on their favorite part of owning the business.
“The kids. Some of the kids we’ve had work there are great kids. Some are in their 30s now. They have great families and kids, too,” said Michael.
Opening Mega Moo was never a plan in their lives, but they both agree the opportunity was an unexpected blessing.
The restaurant was seasonal, like many other ice cream shops, for the first few years. They decided to open year-round 10 years ago when they began offering pizza.
“We’ve learned over the years, you’ve just got to stick with quality,” said Michael.
The hard work of owning a business was not lost on Michael and Shelli.
“We both worked seven days a week. We had one vacation in seventeen years,” said Shelli.
Michael and Shelli noted COVID had an unexpected impact on their business.
“We stayed open with our drive-thru while most places were closed. We were slammed. The good thing about that particular year is everyone wanted to work. They couldn’t go to school, they couldn’t go to friends, but they could come to work,” laughed Michael. “They would even call and say they knew they were off the next day but asked if they could come to work.”
“Usually, the kids who worked for us became good friends,” added Shelli. “They would start socialized outside of work, too.”
“We even had a bunch of them to our house one year for Easter,” said Michael. “They were good kids.”
“We tried to make things fun and had a lot of good times in the building,” noted Shelli.
With many fond memories through the years, a few stood out, such as “the daily interactions with people. I had a lady I used to deliver to – she would have me walk into her house, get out a plate, serve her pizza, and pour her pop over ice. I would set up her tray and we would talk. Little things like that,” remembered Michael.
Mega Moo delivered pizza and ice cream, though they never had to advertise it. They delivered throughout the county and often surprised neighbors of their customers when they would be seen delivering.
“We delivered to the hospital. We delivered pizza and ice cream,” said Michael.
Shelli is a graduate of Harding High School. Michael is a graduate of Pleasant High School and Tri-Rivers Career Center. They moved out of town, but they still consider Marion home.
“We’re proud of the business that we built. We built it from scratch,” said Shelli.
“We’re going to miss our regulars,” said Michael. “It was a lot of fun.”
After many years of working seven days a week, their family is enjoying their time off.