Jack Watkins stands in front of his ice cream shop Spencer's Ice Cream in this undated family picture. Credit: Courtesy of Staci Watkins

Jack Watkins has transformed Spencer’s Ice Cream from a straightforward ice cream shop in Bradley to a regional fixture with sales across much of the state in the nearly four years since he bought the business as a high school senior.

Now, the 22-year-old is ready for something new. He listed the Bradley ice cream shop building and the Spencer’s Ice Cream business for sale on Wednesday for $1.35 million. But the ice cream enterprise isn’t closing down.

“I think that he did exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to buy a broken business, fix it, build it, and then when the time was right, move on to other endeavors,” Staci Watkins, Jack’s mother, said Friday while Jack was running his late father’s plowing business during the snowstorm.

When Jack Watkins purchased Spencer’s Ice Cream in 2018, the building that’s home to the store needed repairs. And things weren’t going well on the business side, either, Staci Watkins said.

“It was in pretty rough shape,” she said. “Essentially, he built it from the ground up.”

The ice cream shop that’s been in business since 1933 has thrived under Jack Watkin’s ownership.

He’s expanded it from an operation that only sells scoops from the Bradley shop to one that also has a pop-up hub in downtown Old Town, trailers and trucks that travel around the state for private events, and numerous wholesale contracts through which restaurants and retailers across much of Maine now sell Spencer’s Ice Cream.

“The business is at the top of its game. I mean, he goes all the way to Fort Kent with ice cream,” Staci Watkins said. “It’s bigger than people realize. There’s the store and wholesale. I don’t think people realize how busy it is.”

Spencer’s Ice Cream in Bradley, Feb. 2, 2022. Credit: Courtesy of Spencer's Ice Cream

Jack Watkins saw the business as a challenge. He wanted to bring it to life. In the process, he has cemented its reputation as home to some of the best ice cream in the area and an important part of the Bradley community, Staci Watkins said.

Despite the news that the business is up for sale, Staci Watkins said people should not be concerned that the ice cream shop will close down anytime soon. Spencer’s Ice Cream is doing better than ever, she said, and Jack Watkins is seeking a buyer who will continue what he started.

“It is not closing,” she said. “It is not even close to being in fear of closing. The store holds its own.”

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...