By Fletcher D.
What is the history behind Duxbury’s famous ice cream shop “Farfars?” Why is it even called Farfars? Owner Andra Carleton had a lot to say about this little ice cream shop’s big story.
Why is the shop called FarFars?
“Farfars is the Danish word for grandfather. My Danish father [was] born in the United States. Luckily, his Danish parents came over while my grandmother was expecting a child, and they didn’t know if he was going to be born on the boat or the land of the United States. I went to my dad 39 years ago when I came up with the idea of having an ice cream shop. My husband and I had looked around the town and found that this piece of property was business zoned which is rare in the town of Duxbury. And we bought it, we bought the property. There was a bait shop on the property and the rest of it was just brush and wild woodsy, not even trees just brambles and bushes and stuff like that. So we decided on the ice cream shop after we thought a lot about it and looked around at everything that Duxbury doesn’t allow, like a funeral parlor or a car wash. There’s a lot that they don’t allow and those weren’t things we were interested in anyway. My father worked with HB Hood in their dairy in Boston and he was a food and bacteriology major in college. He went to work with HB Hood and one of the things he did was he developed the ice cream base for any ice cream store that makes their own ice cream unless they have cows and a pasteurization process on their property. You have to buy from a registered dairy. So he developed that base that is still used by HB Hood today, but he developed that back in the 40’s. Here we are 2018 [using] the same recipe.”
“So as I was growing up I was very aware of ice cream shops because of his work, [especially] homemade ice cream shops, which there were a lot of back in those days. There wasn’t Brigham’s there wasn’t a Friendly’s or things like that, there were places that make their own ice cream. So I grew up hearing about that all the time. Sometimes traveling with him in the summertime to a lot of places for HB Hood. When he retired, he and my mom had [both] retired and they were living out of state. We called him one night and said ‘Hey Farfar we are going to open an ice cream shop.’ He said ‘Oh no, no you don’t you live in a beautiful town, you will never get to the beach, it’s going to take your blood sweat and tears. Oh no you can’t do this.’ ‘We will think about it, we will talk again about it.’ So March came, and I said ‘Ok this is the final call dad.’ We had talked a number of times, so he finally relented and said, ‘Ok, ok, I’ll help you guys out.’ I knew all these people coming in by name because my dad had a connection with these people through work or something and now I was meeting them. And they want me to buy their products. It was so exciting for me and it wasn’t foreign to me at all, the concept, not at all, but running it was a whole different thing. I never sold a thing in my life.”
“So anyway dad came up from retirement, dad and mom both did, and they had a summer home in Maine. They were on their way from Georgia up to Maine and they came and spent about a month with us. We had all the plans, my husband was building the building. So he [Farfar] got us connected with all the right people from buying your paper goods to the most important things like the flavors, the equipment, all the minutia of owning an ice cream store and running it properly. So he stayed by our side for most of the first month and then stepped back a little bit and would call and say ‘How are you doing?’ And he would say ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because it was instant an instant success.
“Absolutely. There were naysayers all over town saying ‘Oh no it’s just going to be a hangout.’ ‘It’s just going to be kids.’ ‘Just another place where they could be smoking’ Which we don’t allow. And that never happened. It just was an instant success. And we just grew and grew and grew and so for 39 years I think we said ok, this is it, this is as far as we can grow, but Duxbury is growing, Pembroke is growing, Hingham is growing there’s more people so more people come in. It’s great. So we named it after my dad. He didn’t ask us to, he had no idea it was going to happen. We surprised him. I got the t-shirts made, it’s his face that’s our logo. And the artwork was done by a friend, an artist, who set up the font for the name and everything like that, and I will never forget getting the t-shirts and coming home, my son and my husband put them on and we walked into the house and talked to my dad. He wasn’t paying any attention to what we were wearing and said ‘Wait a minute, you can’t do that’ and I said ‘We did, we did it.’ And he said ‘I don’t think they want to see my face’ and I said ‘I do.’ So without him it would not have opened so smoothly. And been done so correctly as far as pricing, as far as equipment, it just was amazing that he could pull it all together.”
So he was kind of the springboard?
“Yes, yes. And we are very proud.”