About US

Monday – Friday        11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday- Sunday          2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.




The Sugar Bear was created by Gary and Cindy Verdries from a converted auto service station. The store opened in May, 1976, two days after Gary and Cindy were married. They ran the Ice Cream Parlour 7 days a week until midnight. After surviving two of the worst winters in the past century, the Verdries’ sold the Sugar Bear in 1980 to The Neale family so that they could start a family. In 2004 mother and daughter, Leslie and Courtney Buhl purchased The Sugar Bear. They had one main goal, make The Sugar Bear MORE than JUST ice cream again and let it continue as a traditional dessert stop for the surrounding families!

You can ask most any person who lives in or around Paw Paw and they all know what The Sugar Bear is all about! Courtney and Leslie started by slowly expanding the current food menu. Leslie being a vegetarian thought offering vegetarian items would be great. She has always found it VERY challenging to eat out as a vegetarian. Most restaurants do not contain vegetarian items and the ones that do really do not know how to prepare the items. They decided WHAT better place to serve vegetarian food then at The Sugar Bear where the head cook WAS vegetarian! Courtney being a person who loves wraps and burgers made it so the menu was nicely offset with something for EVERYONE! Leslie also decided soup would be a great addition. This blossomed into them offering up to 10 soups some days with a majority being vegetarian friendly. In 2008 Leslie retired, but not without still helping when needed and offering soup recipes. Courtney continued to expand the menu especially after her diagnosis of Celiac in 2010. She no longer could have the wraps, burgers or really any item she ate at restaurants. She slowly started to open her menu options to carry Gluten Free items.

March of 2012 Courtney re-opened her doors after a winter hiatis to showcase her newly remodeled Bear. After much personal sacrifice and a great team of contractors she had renovated the entire kitchen and cone area. Her goal? To make the kitchen food allergy friendly and give her staff a more efficient work area for her ever growing business. She expanded her cooking service to three times the size, designating surfaces for gluten free and Vegan. Within 4 months of the renovation, she saw a rapid incline in her customer base including her Facebook likes gaining 800 likes.

Unfortunately, Courtney has suffered physical issues since she was a child and as the years went on the pain became too much for her to continue with the quality of service she was accustomed to giving.  Eventually she was forced to place the Bear up for sale. The 2017 season was extremely challenging and she was forced to close for the winter in order to have several surgeries.  She is back now and excited to see everyone but had to make the tough decision to not open the kitchen this season so she was able to continue to recover.  There is still a ton of ice cream and great service ready and waiting for all of you.