NORRIDGEWOCK — On June 21, 1964, 24-year-old Edward Frederick opened his own business, Frederick’s Dar-I-Whip, a diner and ice cream stand on Mercer Road.

At the time, it seemed like a big undertaking, said Frederick, who grew up in Norridgewock and was inspired by his mother’s hot dog stand — the best part of which, he said, was the ice cream.

“I always liked ice cream and I decided to build it,” said Frederick, who is now 74 and still owns and operates the business along with his wife, Gloria.

On Saturday the couple celebrated 50 years of owning and managing Dar-I-Whip, the name of which comes from Frederick asking the same question of his family over and over while he was starting the business: Do I dare do this?

“It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, and you have to have really good employees,” said Gloria Frederick, 72. “It’s not just us but our whole family that works here.”

Their daughter, Darcy, and two of their grandchildren also work at the store, which offers handmade hard ice cream and dozens of flavors of soft-serve. Their best and most popular flavor is peanut butter ice cream, Gloria Frederic said. Her husband said his favorite is the “Kayla Cone” — a soft serve cone, made with any combination of flavored syrups, that is named after their granddaughter Mikayla.

Edward Frederick said he eats a pint of ice cream every night — the secret to being a successful manager for 50 years.

“As the oldest business in Norrdigewock to be owned and operated by its original founders, Dar-I-Whip has been giving back to the community since 1964,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in a congratulatory letter to Edward Frederick that was presented to him Saturday. “The dedication, hard work and community involvement exhibited serve as an example to other small businesses across Maine.”

To celebrate the milestone, the store offered 1964 prices on select ice cream Saturday — 10 cents for a small cone, 25 cents for a sundae and 35 cents for a float.

“One of the biggest rewards is having hired many young people over the years, giving them their first job and then having them come back and thank us for giving them a start,” Gloria Frederick said. “I hope we can continue to do that.”

Frederick’s Dar-I-Whip, located at 120 Mercer Road, which is also U.S. Route 2, is open seven days a week from May through mid-September. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. serving lunch and dinner and until 9 p.m. for ice cream.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

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