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Sips renames drink in Gassman's honor



July 17, 2014
Throughout her battle with cancer, a local girl who died in March used to stop into a local café for her favorite drink. In her honor, that shop has renamed the beverage.

In memory of Carly Gassman, Sips Espresso Bar, 2000 N. Buckeye Ave., renamed its "Frappe Royale" to "Carly Royale." A portion of the drink's profits will go toward the Carly Marie Gassman Scholarship for Abilene High School graduates.

The day of Gassman's funeral, two of her closest friends, Katelyn Myers and Taylor Alderson, stopped into Sips to celebrate Gassman's life by purchasing her favorite drink.

"We all played sports in high school, so it kind of started that way, because we would go in there and get a drink before ball games or in the morning," Myers said. "Then, I we just loved it and kept going back."

The beverage name change and scholarship idea did not come up in the girls' conversation that day with Sips owners Bill and Kathey Sheppard, but a few hours later, Bill emailed Myers with the idea.

He said he and Kathey came up with it when they continued talking about Gassman after her friends left the shop.

"I just think it's a wonderful way to honor Carly," Myers said. "She was a huge, special part of mine and Taylor's lives, so it's important to both of us to remember her in every way we can."

Bill said Gassman started frequenting the café during her middle school years. From the start, her order was always the same — the Frappe Royale. The drink blends caramel and vanilla flavors with espresso, milk and ice.

Bill normally works in the back while Kathey takes control of the front counter, but he had a standing rule for one customer — whenever Gassman came in, he wanted to know.

"No matter how busy he was in the kitchen, he would take the time to say hi to Carly," Kathey said. "Sometimes, he would whisper to me, 'Don't charge her.' She'd always insist on paying, but accepted the freebie every once in a while. Carly was very special."

Whether Gassman came alone, with a couple of friends — usually Myers and Alderson — or even the entire AHS Cowgirl Volleyball Team, Bill was glad to see his favorite customer.

"She was one of those People that could make your entire day better just by showing up," Bill said.

While Sheppard appreciated Gassman as a "regular," Myers said she and Alderson appreciated her as a best friend.

"Every time I think of her, even now, I can see her huge, bright, contagious smile," Myers said. "She always saw the best in everyone, and you wouldn't ever see her being down. She was just all-around such a great girl."

Myers said many people in town either knew of Gassman or knew her personally.

"Now, when people drink a Carly Royale from Sips, they can think of her and continue to be impacted by the strength and courage she had," Myers said. "Taylor and I, Carly's parents and everyone else are so thankful for Bill and Kathey. The Carly Royale and scholarship were their idea. They've done so much to make sure she's remembered well."

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