ZANESVILLE – Sometimes what goes around, comes back around. It did for Aaron Wahl.
“As a kid I was all over the place with what I wanted to do,” he said. “Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl was my first job when I was young. I worked there a few years and then tried some other things.
“When I was working at Tom’s in my teens,” he continued, “I was in a band with my best friends. We were certain we were all going to be famous, but that all changed. Then I wanted to be a photographer and I did that for five years on the side while I spent 17-plus years in retail management.
“Honestly, I thought I would stay in retail forever,” he added. “But I eventually wanted a change of scenery. I switched to restaurant management as my full-time job, but I started working one or two days a week again back at Tom’s.”
Today Wahl is manager at Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl.
“Tom’s never left my heart through all those years,” he said. “Eventually Joe (Baker, Tom’s owner), after many talks, convinced to come help run the place. I mean, my favorite job as a kid is now my career. I’m pretty darn happy about that.”
Now 40, Wahl grew up in Gratiot and went to Rosecrans High School until his junior year when he moved to West Muskingum.
“As with any management job I’ve had over the past 20 years, there is no typical day here,” he said of his time at Tom’s. “You can have a base idea of what you want to accomplish but you need to adapt to every change. Learning to go with the flow as needed is key.”
“And some taste testing of ice cream,” he added with a smile, “is along the way.”
“Aaron was one of the first people I considered for general manager when I was about to buy Tom’s,” Baker stated. “He takes his job very seriously. He’s absolutely easy to get along with. And he always has his eye on the whole job, not just the task at hand. Having trained him to begin with as a teenager, I already knew this. It’s why I considered him immediately as management material for this great little family restaurant. I’m also starting to train him to make ice cream. That’s a responsibility I don’t give to a lot of people.”
“I do it because I love the people who work here,” Wahl responded. “Tom’s has been a part of me since I was a kid. I learned many valuable lessons on how to manage from Joe and Bill (Sullivan, a former owner) that I kept with me through my retail career, so it only made sense to come back home.
“I never dreamed life would lead me here,” he concluded. “But I’m very happy it did. I’m sure my family is happy too. They love the ice cream benefits.”
Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl is located at 532 McIntire Avenue in Zanesville. For more information, call 740-452-5267 or log on www.tomsicecreambowl.com.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com.