CARTERVILLE, Mo. – Famed ice cream parlor and Superman museum, Supertam on 66, reopened in September under the new ownership of Joplin couple Chris and Andrea Briley.
Larry and Barbara Tamminen opened the business in 2006, but couldn’t keep Supertam open “because of illness,” the Brileys explained. In May of this year, the Tamminens had to put it up for sale. When Andrea found out, she was keen to breathe new life into the building.
“It was just a wonderful thing and it was gone. So I just wanted it back,” said Andrea Briley.
Andrea, who’s in her sixth year of teaching in Carterville, had been visiting Supertam with her students and own children over the years.
“The kids love this place,” she said. “This is a staple of Carterville.”
Andrea spoke to the Tamminens about what they wanted for the future of the business. She says she badly wanted to be the new owner of Supertam.
“It’s like I’m a little kid, I love this place. I got so excited when we met with the realtors to walk in,” she said.
The next step was to get Chris fully on board.
“I let him take the tour. Before we were leaving, I could see it. He wanted it too, he loved it too. He fell in love with it… He had a vision for it too,” said Andrea.
The Brileys said that in June, “it just kind of evolved from there.” They then became the proud new owners of Supertam.
The Tamminens were gracious and asked the “community to welcome them” – and the community has.
“We had no idea that it [Route 66] was like a family,” said Chris Briley.
“I just love this little town and I’m invested. I love the kids here, the families,” said Andrea.
Supertam is the home of “Larry’s life collection”: over 2,600 Superman memorabilia items, as well as some Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman items.
Chris says there is everything from “old metal lunchboxes to first edition comics.”
“People like to come and see it because it’s interesting. You can’t come here one time and see everything,” said Andrea.
Supertam, located right on Route 66, draws in traveling visitors from all over the U.S.
It’s even listed in China as a top ten tourist attraction in the United States, according to the couple.
“The nostalgia of Route 66 is bigger than you think,” said Andrea.
Just recently, the Brileys had a customer come in who had a photo of her sister and herself as children at Supertam.
“‘It smells just like when I was a kid… I used to eat my ice cream in that phone booth,'” Chris said the customer expressed.
Chris says the customer returned to the phone booth to eat her ice cream once again, just like she did many years before.
While keeping that nostalgia alive, the Brileys have big plans for the future of Supertam.
“We love it, we’ve got a vision for it. We’re excited. We’re already starting to plan for improvements,” said Chris. “We’ve turned it into more of an event center.”
Supertam is available to host birthday parties, movie nights and other events.
The Brileys are in the process of restoring the trolley car next to the building and turning it into a “50s style diner.” They also plan on building a stage on the backside of the trolley car.
But Chris explains that they haven’t changed much about the inside of the building. The couple hasn’t removed any pieces of memorabilia, they’ve only rearranged it and brought in technology.
Supertam still serves its famous Superman ice cream, along with 11 other flavors. The few new, different flavors with names like “Exhausted Parent,” rotate.
Now, they also offer Route 66 soda, floats and are open everyday, year-round.
To keep up with Supertam on 66, visit its Facebook page.