(Left to right): Ned Horton, Kathy Bollinger, Jess Bollinger and Sydney Drake stand in the Dairy Frost on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. John Terhune / The Times Record

More than a little has changed since 1955. One Cold War with Russia has ended and another has begun. Network TV and “I Love Lucy” have given way to Netflix and “Stranger Things.”

One thing that hasn’t changed? The Dairy Frost in Brunswick, even with a new owner, is still dishing out ice cream to satisfy the sweet tooth of Midcoast residents.

“I’m just really pleased that the Dairy Frost is going to carry on,” said Kathy Bollinger, who has continued to help run the business since she sold it last year. “Generations have been here.”

Ned Horton, who also purchased Mae’s Café in Bath last year, said he was excited by the opportunity to take over and help maintain a community staple.

“I have an affinity for historic homes and bringing them back to life,” said Horton, a Bowdoin College graduate with family ties to Maine. “It occurred to me to do some of that with some businesses too.”

The Dairy Frost at its original location on Jordan Ave. Contributed / The Dairy Frost

Established in 1955 by Emil and Ida Born, the Dairy Frost originally sat at the corner of Jordan Ave, according to Bollinger. In 1966, her future husband John “Boyd” Bollinger and his parents took over the shop, which was a natural complement to their other restaurant, Fat Boy Drive-In.


A conflicting flight path from the nearby Naval Air Station forced The Dairy Frost to move to Bath Rd. a few years before Kathy Bollinger married into the family business in the early 1990s, she said. Still, crowds of locals stormed the shop daily, eager for Boyd Bollinger’s signature peanut butter soft serve.

“We used to have lines to the road,” Bollinger remembered. “It was all fun.”

John “Boyd” Bollinger stands in front of the Dairy Frost in the 1970s. Contributed / The Dairy Frost

Over the years, the Dairy Frost family has grown, as longtime fans and employees have brought their kids into the fold. Kathy and Boyd’s son, Alec Bollinger, spent his teen years scooping ice cream – and unknowingly serving his future wife.

“I came here as a kid all the time,” said Jess Bollinger, who now helps Alec and her mother-in-law Kathy by picking up shifts at the Dairy Frost. “I didn’t know (Alec) was the ice cream man.”

The Dairy Freeze’s cozy, unpretentious vibe (its operating hours are “11:30 ish to 8:30 ish”) has made it a favorite of everyone from businessmen to firefighters, according to next door neighbor Julie Cook.

Jess Bollinger takes an order at the window on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. John Terhune / The Times Record

“It’s not fancy, and it’s not a chain,” said Cook, who manages Mae’s Café. “It’s local. I think people love that.”


“It’s just been a huge part of raising my kids,” said Heather Holmes Floyd, who for years ate at Fat Boy and the Dairy Frost as part of a weekly family ritual. “It’s been like a mainstay in our lives.”

Despite the shop’s throwback feel, not everything has remained the same over time, Bollinger said. Business dried up for a couple of years after the closure of the Naval Air Station a decade ago, though it’s largely returned. Non-dairy Dole Whip and a lemon soft serve recipe perfected by Alec Bollinger have changed the menu’s look, while a labor shortage has left the Dairy Frost struggling to hire enough managers.

Scooper Sydney Drake prepares an ice cream treat. John Terhune / The Times Record

“We are struggling a little bit,” said Horton. “We need the future Kathy.”

Yet Kathy Bollinger, who sold the business due to health problems, is optimistic that the Dairy Frost will keep serving up scoops and smiles thanks to help from Horton and her family.

“I’m really happy that I can be here with Ned and make this work,” she said. “We’re always here. Through everything.”

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