Frozen Delights: A Philadelphian treat in Aiken

·3 min read

Aug. 5—In an unassuming former gas station on Augusta Road sits a frozen treat shop that is humble in appearance but large in flavor.

The shop's owner and sole employee Anthony Simpkins, 45, has been a South Carolina resident for most of his life, but his roots and taste buds remain in Philadelphia.

What Simpkins sells from his shop is a little treat called Philadelphia water ice. It's a non-dairy, fat-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and peanut-free frozen treat that can be served as a tasty treat on its own, with candy, or in a smoothie with fruit and whipped cream.

The treats come in a variety of flavors including strawberry lemonade, coconut, chocolate, mango and pina colada.

Up in Philadelphia, Simpkins said, this treat is available on every corner shop on the block, and he can buy it whenever he visits. But in the South, it's practically unheard of. So, about 15 years ago, Simpkins decided to look into opening a shop to sell Philadelphia water ice himself.

First, Simpkins said he tried getting a cart, but he found it more inexpensive to buy a truck and convert it into a frozen food truck himself.

Starting in 2015, he began driving around as a frozen treat food truck; but at the time, the city of Aiken had a law where no ice cream trucks could sell within city limits.

Simpkins had his license to run his truck and could work outside the city, but he went before the Aiken City Council with others to argue his case.

In July 2017, the city changed the law that allowed trucks like his to run in the city limits of Aiken, and from then on, Simpkins could drive his truck around the city.

Simpkins created a Facebook page for the business in May 2017. Via social media, Simpkins started receiving complaints from customers that they kept missing his truck, so he decided to open a store front so they could always have a place to go.

Simpkins has been in his present location for one year. Business went well in 2021. This year, it has slowed down; and he is hoping it will pick up again.

When asked what he'd like people to know about his business, Simpkins said, "It's the best frozen treat around. That's what I want them to know. It's very affordable. Like, you can't get this from nowhere. You can't buy this from nowhere around here because I have to travel to go get it, so therefore it comes from Philly."

Simpkins has to travel to Philadelphia to get the product. There are ways to make this product locally, but for him, it just doesn't taste the same. That is not just important for the flavor but because the way it is made is better for children with allergies.

Simpkins said that kids with certain allergies can consume the product without worry since the water ice is non-dairy, fat-free, soy-free and peanut-free.

Frozen Delights is at 2893 Augusta Road.

The store is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

It is small and easy to miss, but like its owner, it is a hidden gem.

To find out more about this business, the owner can be contacted through the Facebook page or at 803-380-9660.