Bittersweet goodbye as Ballard’s Ice Cream in Concord’s South End prepares to close for good

A South End staple of almost 40 years will be shuttering its doors next weekend. Ballard’s Ice Cream will serve its last cups, cones and sundaes on Sept. 7.

“It is really bittersweet to be closing the last of the Ballard’s Family businesses,” Doris and Norm Ballard wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week. “We will certainly miss seeing our wonderful customers, and would have hoped to keep the business going for many more years, but it’s time for us to take a break and start to enjoy life before it’s too late.”

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On the last day of business, Norm Ballard plans to have a farewell party to say goodbye to the neighborhood where he’s dished out ice cream since 1980 and also a yard sale, where restaurant equipment and Ballard’s picnic tables, swings, chairs and the giant train set will be up for purchase, as well as personal items from the Ballard’s apartment above the shop.

“I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over 39 years and we are going to a condo,” Ballard said. “I don’t need a snow thrower, I don’t need a lawnmower, I don’t need ladders and I don’t need to paint outside.”

It’s not easy to go, but it’s time, Ballard said.

“It’s a good business, we’ve done well,” Ballard said. “We’re not millionaires and it’s never going to happen at $3.00 a sale.”

The Ballards said a natural medicine store, Whole Health Concord, will be taking over the building.

“We are confident that they will be a wonderful addition to the South End,” the Ballards wrote.

At Ballard’s, open in Concord for 39 years, customers find 53 flavors of hard ice cream, and 16 soft serve, along with a menu of sandwiches and fried food. Norm Ballard told the Monitor in 2016 his favorite menu item is his classic vanilla soft serve, which he says “is to die for.”

Ballard wrote on Facebook that they will be hosting the Ballard’s annual ice cream sell-off on Friday, Sept. 6, starting at 5 p.m. and continuing on Saturday, Sept. 7, their last day of business.

Norm Ballard announced three years ago that the family was looking to sell their ice cream business. He said then he was hoping to wait to sell until he found someone who wanted to open up another ice cream shop.

But it turned out no one wanted the ice cream business to go along with the property.

Ballard’s departure will not be an easy one. His business is a neighborhood institution in the South End of Concord, and he will be sorely missed by many life-long customers, many of whom took to commenting on Ballard’s Facebook post on Aug. 26 announcing the shop’s closing.

“Thank you for your patronage for so many years,” the Ballards wrote. “And thanks to our amazing employees for their dedication and service to our terrific customers. They are indeed just like family and always will be!”

Article Written by Leah Willingham of The Concord Monitor

Photo Courtesy of The Concord Monitor

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