An ice cream bar in Pictou’s west end has a refreshing presence and a nearly 60-year heritage.
Brooke Miller owned the bar with her husband until recently selling it to a family from Ontario that is moving to Pictou County.
“I have such a busy life, so that’s why it (was) for sale,” she said, explaining why she decided to sell the business. “This is my fifth season. We’re business people. We always wanted to have a business.”
What is lesser-known about the seasonal business is that its origin can be traced to a location on the Braeshore where the late Trueman Stright and his late wife, Olive, owned and operated it.
Their son, Bill Stright, worked at the bar when he was young and later took it over with his wife in the mid-1990s. He explained how the bar was busy with traffic proceeding to and from the ferry at Caribou Harbour.
The road through Braeshore was the only option through Pictou until Highway 106 opened in 1968. That prompted the building’s removal to its present location.
“It wasn’t out there very long, about the same time the highway opened,” Bill Stright said, while describing the soft ice cream and related products, as well as potato chips and pop that could be purchased there.
He said the bar business is good for one important reason.
“’It’s probably the location. That’s the main access point.”
The Strights tried to open it in late April or early May and close it shortly after Labour Day.
“A lot of the staff was going back to school or university,” he said.
Bill and his wife sold the business in 2013 but not before upgrades that included adding a basement for a washroom and food storage.
“It was getting more difficult to get staff,” he said, while adding some ice cream-related products they could count on were being cut back. “There was a time when we did enjoy it. It was good for our son to earn some money to go to university. For both of us it was a full-time job. You were pretty well tied down, and it really got to be a lot more work.”
Miller expanded the menu when she bought the business in 2016. She later installed a heat pump to keep the place cooler in summer and extend the season further into the fall.
“It was a really exciting time,” she said.
Miller also praised her staff over the time she’s operated the bar.
“For five years I’ve had amazing staff,” she said. “I cannot complaint at all. They’re great.”