Name: Carolynn Taylor

Age: 50

Title: Owner and operator

Business: Sweet Carolynn’s, Gardiner

About: A year-round ice cream shop, also serving light lunch with Maine-sourced products.



What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Getting my supplies to come in. I’m on my third lid delivery for simple shake cups, and it’s wrong.

But honestly, I have to say as far as things go, I think it’s gone pretty smoothly. Going into it, there’s a lot of licensing you have to do. It was a real eye-opening. I went on, and got some guidance from family and friends on what I am looking for as far as LLCs and getting that ball rolling. It was putting one foot in front of the other and following it to the next step.

It took a little bit of time.

What’s the best advice anyone has given you?

Relax. It’s all going to be fine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and if I have any need for any help, I just have to ask them (from neighboring Water Street business owners).


How do you foster creativity?

I have to step back like I do at my other job, step back and analyze and think how things will work, almost like a puzzle. (Taylor has been a police officer with the Gardiner Police Department since 2015.) Where is this piece going to fit? And keeping everything simple.

What’s your biggest fear?


Nothing is a success when it first starts, I know that. You have to nurture it. It’s sink or swim. The thing is that if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you’re going to sink or swim. It is what it is. If it’s not successful, it’s not successful, If it is, it is. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, I am not going to stress about it.

(Failure teaches you) to keep trying until you get it right. You do learn from your mistakes. You do learn from your failures. I guess failure is a strong word. You want to succeed, you want to be successful. You see what the potential is down here (on Water Street) which is huge. I think Gardiner needs this.


What makes now the time to start a new business?

Maturity, maybe? I have to have a fall-back plan. I have to financially depend on me and me only as far as certain things go, going down the road into the future. I always wanted to do this.

It’s almost like everything lined up just like it’s supposed to.

I was on the 7 p.m., to 7 a.m. shift, and then I took a floater position. So that basically was days, maybe some evenings. And then when the school resource officer positions opened up, I was like: If I get one, I’m going to do this. I would do inside business checks at 2:30 in the morning. And this building came up for rent, and I thought, “That’s an ice cream shop.” Just the lights and the ceiling, and that display cabinet, I saw cupcakes in that. There’s nothing around here like that. And Gardiner needs something like that.

I’m flying by the seat of my pants. My family owns the Overhead Door Company, so I kind of grew up around business, but never worked for my grandfather or uncles. It’s just something I wanted to do. And who doesn’t like ice cream? You have the two ice cream shops across the river, but they are seasonal and they close down. Plus, Shain’s of Maine ice cream.

This goes hand-in-hand with my job. You’re out in the public, sometimes you see stuff that’s not all that happy and this is a different atmosphere. We’ve had people come through here because their last name is Gardiner, but they live in Massachusetts. We need a map so people can pin where they are from. And people from New York and New Brunswick. Talking to people from other places is just so cool, whether it’s in here or out there.

You just jump in with both feet, and you hold on.

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