Ice cream parlor adds sweet treats in Harpswell

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HARPSWELL — For most people, the approaching summer signifies rest and relaxation.

But Pam Douglas is ready to tackle a new venture.

Douglas, a lifelong Harpswell resident, is the owner of the new Pammy’s Ice Cream Parlor at 1410 Harpswell Neck Road.

Though it opened softly Tuesday, Pammy’s grand opening will be Sunday, May 13, when visitors can hear music from local band “Peaked in High School” from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Douglas began the process of opening the business last October, but said she has wanted to open an ice cream shop near Harpswell Center for about five years.

Her inspiration came from days spent with her now-4-year-old grandson, Bentley. While taking him on weekly ice cream “dates” at a shop near his home in Cumberland, Douglas realized there was a lack of ice cream shops in Harpswell.

“He’d be kicking his feet in the stroller or whatever, and I kept thinking, wow, we live in Harpswell, there’s nothing down here,” she said. “So I’m thinking, where (and) how can I do this? And I just kept putting it out there to the universe, like how?”

Eventually, Douglas noticed a vacant plot of town-owned land near Mitchell Field that had once been a part of the former U.S. Navy fuel depot, which closed in 1992.

After gaining necessary approvals from the town, she got to work learning the ropes of the rest of the business, such as permitting, licensing and ordering supplies. The name of the business, however, was also inspired by her role as a grandmother.

“I never wanted to be called Grammy, or Nanny, or Mimi or anything, I wanted to be called Pammy,” she said. “That’s how Pammy’s Ice Cream Parlor got called Pammy’s, because I’m Pammy, not Grammy.”

Before she opened her business on May 8, Douglas had several other local jobs.

She majored in fashion merchandising in college, but eventually worked as a waitress for more than three decades at different local establishments, including Cook’s Lobster & Ale House and The Muddy Rudder in Yarmouth.

She has also worked in private elder care for several years, and runs Pam’s Wreaths, selling her homemade wreaths during the holiday season.

With Pammy’s, a small gray shed with whimsical features like pink Adirondack chairs, pink-and-blue tables, and pink-and-blue dog bowls, Douglas said she hopes to provide a place for local kids and families.

In addition to hard and soft-serve ice cream, Pammy’s will serve hot dogs, chips, soda, and locally made dog bones.

“My big thing is, all these people that come to Mitchell Field, I’m hoping there will be something here for them,” she said. “Stover’s Point (Preserve) has become a real big thing now in Harpswell, so many people go there. It’s like ‘Oh, they go to the beach?’ They’ve got a place to stop with the kids to get an ice cream that’s huge.”

She added she also wants elderly residents to feel comfortable coming to Pammy’s, even those who may have mobility issues.

“If they come, and they’re having a hard time walking, or they’re having trouble, I’ll have somebody here to come out and take their order and bring them their ice cream,” she said.

Certain menu items at Pammy’s are inspired by Douglas’ grandchildren, such as “Talia’s Strawberry Shortcake,” which is named after her granddaughter, and a sundae called “The Bentley.”

“Pammy’s Mud Pie Parfait” is also on the menu. Named after Douglas, it features coffee ice cream, Oreo cookie crumbles, hot fudge and whipped cream.

In addition to traditional frozen treats, patrons can also enjoy root beer floats and shakes, and purchase pints of hard ice cream to take home.

Douglas said the shop will be open from noon-9 p.m. seven days a week from now until late October, when she will begin working on wreaths for the holiday season.

Ultimately, she said, she wants kids in Harpswell to have an ice cream place to enjoy, as she did when she was younger.

“I just want to have something here for the town, a happy place, basically,” she said. “I just want a happy place.”

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

Pam Douglas, owner of Pammy’s Ice Cream Parlor at 1410 Harpswell Neck Road, in the shop that opened May 7. The grand opening will be Sunday, May 13. Douglas is a lifelong Harpswell resident who also owns a seasonal wreath-making business, Pam’s Wreaths.

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