The Early Days Photo Gallery

History of Red’s Dairy Freeze

Written by Leonard “Red” Bolling in the early 1980s

I was a milk man with H.P. Hoods, working very hard, seven days a week during the summers. Many of the customers would go to Florida for the winter. I knew that we could never afford it on my salary so I tried to think of a way to supplement my salary. 

In 1952, I saw and ad in a magazine about a franchise for a soft serve ice cream store with Tastee Freeze. Soft ice cream was just starting in this area with Dairy Queen at Cash Corner, the first in Maine. I contacted Tastee Freeze, found a location, and got things started.

Things didn’t go too smoothly however as neighbors to our location opposed the idea and brought an injunction against us and held the construction up for six weeks. We finally won and opened the store on August 13 th 1952. Our first day’s sales was $81.30. We stayed with Tastee Freeze until 1965 when we changed the name to Red’s Dairy Freeze.

One evening, after we had been opened about two weeks my wife, Hazel and son David, about 13, had been very very busy, and having no clock thought they would check the time at the gas station across the street since they were getting very tired. It was nearly one o’clock in the morning. I was at home asleep. Needless to say, we purchased a clock. At that time, it took over an hour to was the machines and clean up every night. With the newer machines and techniques, this has changed. 

I was getting up at 2am to go on the milk route to I couldn’t put much time at the store. I would stop by on my way home from the route and say how cool it was at the beach. This was not appreciated as the sun would be on the large windows making it very uncomfortable. We now have air conditioning.

The prices when we opened were;

Vanilla Mix $1.10 per gallon, 

Cones 5 cents, 10 cents, and 15 cents

Ice cream sandwiches, 10 cents

Sundaes 15 cents, 25 cents, 35 cents.

Milkshakes 25 cents, and only 6 flavors. 

Banana splits, 29 cents.

Quarts 35 cents and pints 20 cents.

Alta and Ina’s salary was 75 cents per hour.

In January, 1955, our son Chris was born in which we saw a prospective worker. He started working at about three years and is still with me. On easter Sunday, 1957, the last day that Dave worked before joining the Paratroopers, he and Hazel set a record selling 105 gallons with only vanilla. That record held until May 29, 1977 when we sold 120 gallons, but with 5 flavors, and a new milkshake machine that makes all those flavors so fast.

The first hired help was Shirley Welch. The next was Alta Curtis who started on July 11, 1953 as business was not too much for Hazel and Shirley, Hazel having to care for three children, housework, etc. That group worked very well with Anne and David helping. 

Ina started to work April 24, 1962, we all got along well together and worked hard. Alta worked the longest for 14 years leaving April 24, 1976.

Hazel quit June 3, 1967 after paying the last mortgage payment and now only does the store laundry, pays the bills, the bookkeeping, counts the money, tries to keep the check book straight and the IRS happy. 

I left Hood when the mortgage was paid. 

During summers of 1972 and ’73 a lady could come nearly every morning and buy two and three quarts of ice cream. I did not know her name. One day in the spring of 1973, after waiting in a long line for her three quarts of ice cream, she said that I should have more help. I said that I was looking. The next day, she brought her daughter, a high school student to see me. She didn’t talk much, her mother did most of the talking. Ina said she thought that she would like to work with her, so she was hired. That was Vicky. She was with us for seven years. In the meantime we hired her too sisters and her mother. They made a good team, Ruth and Vicky with a few others now and then. Chris had worked and helped all through high school and college every summer and has come up with some very good ideas. Hot dogs, ham sandwiches. He has several more, but is saving them until after I step down and turn the store over to him hazel wants to do a lot of traveling. Ruth is working hard and I think she will set a new record for long service, I hope so.

April 7-1982

The first time ever the store was closed for two days because of a blizzard. Snow sixteen inches deep. Winds up to 70 miles per hour and temperatures down to 10 degrees. This year we will have a white Easter.