Everyone knows of The Little Engine That Could in which a plucky train engine makes its way up a formidable hill chanting, “I think I can, I think I can.”
Well, that engine has nothing on Minnesota’s oldest ice cream shop. Opened in the early 1900s, Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour in Afton has survived against all odds. To begin with, it’s located next to the St. Croix River. While beautiful and scenic, this particular river has experienced record flooding three times since March 2010 and twelve times since 1952.
In recent years, the shop has changed hands a few times due to a personal tragedy and a bankruptcy. The latter appeared to be the final blow. The shop closed its doors in 2009 and has remained closed since then.
Enter the Nickerson Family of nearby Houlton. The Nickerson’s had heard of Selma’s and its long tradition, and thought it was a shame that the shop was closed. They bought the business at a bargain price and are planning to reopen Selma’s this spring. Thankfully, Becky and Paul Nickerson won’t have to run the ice cream parlour alone. They have six children who will be on hand to help scoop ice cream. I wish the Nickerson’s the best of luck, and offer this bit of advice, “I know I can, I know I can.”