Home Press Release Vermont’s Most Popular Creemee Stand is For Sale

Vermont’s Most Popular Creemee Stand is For Sale

After 27 seasons Dairy Creme owners Cliff and Laurie Dodge have decided to put the cherry on top of their dessert career and make way for a new owner of Montpelier’s iconic creemee stand.

The Dodges purchased the Dairy Creme in 1997. At the time they both worked full-time jobs, Cliff for UPS and Laurie for the Montpelier Post Office. Their oldest daughter Penne (Dodge) VanderBush, who was just 18 at the time, managed the day-to-day in their first 5 seasons until Cliff was ready to retire from UPS and take over the operations.

In recent years their youngest daughter Buffy Dodge has been handling much of the behind-the-scenes work and has been seen at the order or pick-up window quite often too. “It has been a family-operated business since day one,” Cliff said, “we’ve each taken turns at all of the different roles and two of my three grandchildren have worked here.” Cliff laughed as he recalled that in addition to his two teenage grandchildren, Grady and Kaydence Smith, working several shifts over the years, his 9-year-old grandchild Serena VanderBush has even tried her hand at putting orders into the register and handing creemees out to customers. “The gloves are a little big on her,” he chuckled, referring to the food service gloves the employees wear.

The Dairy Creme has a unique history as the creemee side of the building was a former A&W that was relocated from Middlesex to its current location at 320 State Street when Interstate 89 was constructed. A well-known international soft serve chain was no longer using two of its original 1950’s machines (coined the “big machines” or the “plop machines” by Dairy Creme customers over the years), in a different Montpelier location. Through an unconventional merging of an old A&W building and these machines, the Dairy Creme was created.

More recently, and equally unique, Cliff began selling wood pellets, making the Dairy Creme a year-round business. “Only in Vermont can you walk up to a window and order a hot fudge sundae and 3 tons of wood pellets,” he laughed. Both the creemee business and the wood pellet business are included in the sale in addition to the real estate.

Cliff and Laurie both expressed their sincere gratitude and appreciation for their loyal customers. While most locals know the Dairy Creme is the place to be on a Friday night after a ball game, before prom or graduation, and the many other celebrations that take place in the community, there’s a much deeper connection between the Dodges and many of their customers. “We’ve celebrated births, mourned deaths, been the first stop for a customer who had just found out she was cancer-free, and have been a part of many other monumental moments in our customers’ lives,” said Laurie. From anniversaries and birthdays to buying a home or getting engaged, a trip to the Dairy Creme to share the news and celebrate with ice cream has been a tradition of many Vermonters.

Cliff added that they are very appreciative of the support from their customers during the pandemic. “We set up a temporary drive-thru and our customers kept coming without missing a beat. We’ve got the best customers in Vermont.” While the recent floods did impact State Street, Cliff said that the delays in reopening were due to the attention their personal residence needed after the floods. “Our home was severely impacted. We could have opened the DC much faster if we weren’t working on our house. The water recedes quickly back into the Winooski and with a bit of clean up the impact isn’t terrible for the business. But our priority had to be our home.”

Regarding the sale of the business, Cliff said “It’s just time.” As many local folks know, Laurie retired from the Montpelier Post Office after 40 years at the end of 2023. Cliff said he’s ready for the next stage of their lives adding, “I’m old school and the Dairy Creme is ready for someone with a fresh perspective who can take it from here. It should probably have a “Facepage” or “InstaTok” account or something,” he joked.

“When my parents said they were ready to sell I was excited for them and happy to hear they were ready to slow down a bit. Anyone who knows them knows they work non-stop 7 days a week. But now that the time is here the nostalgia has set in and I’m a bit sad.” said Penne. “The Dairy Creme has been part of my life and my children’s lives for so long it’s hard to imagine not being able to stop and walk right in. It’s like a second home.” Buffy shared in the sentiment adding “I’m glad my parents will be able to enjoy retirement and I’m thankful for all the memories, but the day we walk out of the building for the last time will be incredibly difficult.”

The Dairy Creme will stay open until a new owner is found and the sale is final. The 2024 opening date has not yet been determined but it will be posted on the Dairy Creme website when it is.

Anyone interested in learning more about the sale of the business should visit www.dairycreme.com for more information.