Cold School

Spencer’s Ice Cream

Jean Abbott retired from Spencer’s Ice Cream this year after showing new owner Jack Watkins the ropes, although she still stops by to check on him.


A passing of the cone at Spencer’s Ice Cream in Bradley.

By Joel Crabtree
Photographs by Michael D. Wilson

Spencer’s Ice Cream opened in 1933 in tiny Bradley, just east of Old Town. With its handwritten menu and black-and-white photo of founder Norman Spencer on the wall, it feels like a real mom-and-pop joint. But owner Jack Watkins is neither mom nor pop. The 19-year-old bought the parlor last spring while wrapping his senior year at Brewer High (find his prom and graduation photos on the shop’s Facebook page). “When I bought this place, I had no idea how to make anything,” he admits. Luckily, 71-year-old Jean Abbott, who’d been churning at Spencer’s for years, taught him. Now, Watkins is selling pints locally, adding a fleet of catering trucks, and collaborating on new flavors like blueberry doughnut, with Elaine’s Basket Cafe, in Milo, and whoopie pie, with Bangor’s Bangin’ Whoopie.

77 Main St., Bradley. 207-835-1496.


Joel Crabtree

Joel Crabtree is a writer and photographer from Orrington.