CARTERVILLE, Mo. – Supertam has been a staple in the quaint town of Carterville, Missouri since 2006. However, due to health issues, Supertam Ice Cream Parlor and Superman Museum’s original owner Larry Tamminen had to step away from his dream a few years ago and sell the infamous shop.
Thankfully, Chris and Andrea Briley had visited the shop for years and did not want to see it go. After Andrea made a swift phone call to her husband, the Brileys were well on their way to taking over the popular Route 66 stop.
“I was working from home, she was in summer school and she called and said, ‘Guess what’s for sale?’. I said, ‘What?’, and she said, ‘Superman ice cream’. I said, ‘Okay, what does that have to do with us?’. The rest is history,” Chris Briley said with laughter.
Originally named “Superman on Route 66,” the original owner had to change the name to SuperTam after pressure from the copyright owners.
The Brileys told The Heartlander that Larry wanted the new owners to have the same concepts and vision that he had for Supertam.
“We definitely do and then some,” Chris said. “He was excited because we [agreed to have the same concepts], so he was definitely on board. He turned down a cash offer for quite a bit more than what we bought it for. That party just wanted the memorabilia and was going to sell the property, and he said, ‘absolutely not.’”
Beginning in early July, the Brileys negotiated a quick deal but had to wait until Aug. 20 for their official closing date. Andrea said that the amount of permits needed to open the parlor made the process more difficult, but the duo had friends who came forward to help make the transition go more smoothly.
“Because we didn’t have a solid date on the closing, we can’t call up an ice cream vendor and say, ‘Hey, we want a hundred tubs of ice cream delivered’,” Chris said.
“You can’t get a line of credit for a business until you own it. So, we couldn’t do any of the stuff like that. Everything has to fall into place and it did, eventually,” Andrea added.
The Brileys say that the community is catching onto Supertam being back in business and they have already experienced a whopping number of visitors in their first month of being open. Just days ago, a fighter pilot who worked as a stunt double for the new Top Gun sequel stopped by with her family. The Brileys have also had visitors from as far as Serbia and said that anything on Route 66 is a huge attraction for visitors from afar. Supertam is also listed in China’s top 10 tourist activities in the United States.
“Route 66 is a big deal. I think people here take it for granted, but people from other countries love to come and see Route 66. It’s a landmark kind of thing,” Andrea said.
The ice cream parlor/museum features over 2,600 pieces of Superman memorabilia. Although Chris Briley says 99.5% of the memorabilia involves Superman, they do have a few Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Aquaman collectables on display as well.
The Brileys have not changed Larry’s original ice cream flavors, but have recently decided to add a few of their own favorites to the menu. The couple is also currently remodeling a trolley and plan to craft it into a 1950’s style diner, which will sit on the property.
Andrea said the community already feels like family to them and have been very welcoming to their new ownership of the Supertam.
“It’s an experience, it’s not just ‘Here’s your ice cream, see ya later’. We get to know them, ask where they are from, find out about their families and they learn about our’s. It’s a family atmosphere. I liken it to a Mayberry feel. We’re friends with everyone. Everyone is welcome, so come on in.”
Andrea says that she likes to greet customers with her own custom jingle, “Welcome to Supertam where everything is super, man,”
For store hours and more information on Supertam, you can visit their Facebook page.