18-year-old student buys ice cream parlor

BRADLEY, Maine. (WABI) – Last month, Jack Watkins purchased Spencer’s Ice Cream in Bradley. This past Sunday he graduated from high school.

“I’ve been looking to do something like this since I was about six. When I was really young my mom used to bring me here, and I would always get the black raspberry.

At only eighteen, many of his employees are older than he is, including his sister, Emily Watkins.

“He was like, wouldn’t this be cool, and I was like, yeah that’d be awesome, and then like a week later he was like, yeah I just bought it. And I was like, oh my God! I had a full time job that I loved, but the opportunity here was so much more meaningful, kind of.”

“I’m the ice cream lady.” Says Jean Abbot, who is in charge of the homemade ice cream the parlor sells. “Bertha and I make all the ice cream. Bertha is the ice cream machine out back.”
When asked what she thought of her new boss, she replied.
“He’s not a bad guy. Notice I didn’t say kid? But he is!”

Jack says running a business is hard work, but he’s excited to do it and wants to give back to the community.

“We’re donating to the Youth Suicide Prevention program at Acadia Hospital in memory of my classmate and friend Nick Tracy.”

They’re also collecting donations for a family that recently lost their home in a fire.

“It’s always fun to give to the community, and this is a great spot to do it. Bradley is a great town.”

They are also gearing up for some events this summer.

“June 22nd we’re doing a little mock wedding in memory of Hazel and Norman.”

Norman Spencer was the original owner of the store when it opened in 1933.

Jean Abbot is excited about the direction the store is headed in. “This is a great family that’s taken over Spencer’s, and they’re doing a wonderful job. They’re putting their all in it, and everybody that works here seems to be doing the same thing. We all want him to succeed.”

Jack has these words of encouragement for anyone looking to run their own business.

“Definitely take that opportunity because you can never start too early, and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.”

Spencer Roberts, WABI TV5 News, Bradley