Whether a treat on a hot day, a sweet reward after a ballgame or even a wedding reception, Abbott’s Frozen Custard has been a part of many special occasions. Last Thursday was its turn to celebrate when it marked 15 years of doing business in Needham with a party complete with music, face painting, and of course free samples of every flavor of custard.
Abbott’s owner, Mary Pat Dauria, a native of Rochester, N.Y., where Abbott’s was founded in 1902, dreamed of having her own franchise in Needham. She realized that dream on June 22, 2008, when she opened her door at 934 Great Plain Ave. and had lines around the block.
“It was crazy for weeks and weeks and weeks after we opened,” said Dauria. “‘Chronicle’ was there when we opened. We were listed in the Boston Globe Magazine as a top 10 new ice cream business. We opened with a big splash.”
Since then, Abbott’s has done a steady business, even as many places around it shut down during the pandemic.
“We have a takeout window, so families had a place to go to where they felt comfortable,” Dauria said. “They could come get their kids some frozen custard, a little treat to get them out of the house. Everyone was so supportive all the way through COVID — we never closed at all.”
Dauria credits Abbott’s success to this unwavering support from loyal customers, not just in Needham but from neighboring towns as well.
“Once people try frozen custard, it’s sort of an addiction,” she said. “People just come back, our customer base is strong.”
Dauria values her employees and said her absolute favorite thing is working with students, training them and watching them grow. “I’ve had kids come in here who could barely talk, and they end up being great communicators,” she said. “We hire them pretty young, and a lot of them work all the way through college.”
Looking ahead, Dauria plans to continue as long as she is able. “It’s a good business,” she said. “And it’s still growing, believe it or not. So I’ll continue to grow.”