MAYFIELD - Twenty-five years ago, two dairy farmers decided to open a small ice cream stand on the corner of Routes 29 and 30.
Today, Dairy Frost's patrons describe it as a local "landmark."
With the help of Joe and Mary Herba of Herba Nissan, Ed and Betsy Lamberton opened the stand.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Betsy Lamberton, co-owner with her husband, Ed Lamberton, of Dairy Frost in Vail Mills pours sprinkles onto an ice cream cone at the stand on Thursday.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Dairy Frost in Vail Mills is shown on Thursday.
The Leader-Herald/Amanda Whistle
Jim Petrillo presents Ed Lamberton with a wood carving Petrillo made as a gift for Dairy Frost’s 25th anniversary at the ice cream shop’s 25th anniversary celebration July 18 on the store grounds.
"We have to thank them for believing in us," Betsy said.
Ed Lamberton said the couple didn't know much about the ice cream business then, but they've learned the key is simply good service, a good product and persistence.
"We learned practice makes perfect," he said. "We just kept working at it and wanted to have a quality product."
In the summer, Dairy Frost attracts many vacationers with its variety of homemade soft-serve ice cream flavors, but the Lambertons say it's the local customer base and local products that keep them afloat.
Dairy Frost contracts with Mohawk Dairy, which gave the business a generous line of credit when it was starting out, and family-owned Hill & Markes.
"We try to keep all the money local," Ed Lamberton said.
The Lambertons celebrated Dairy Frost's 25th anniversary Sunday with an anniversary party beneath a tent with complimentary cake, ice cream sandwiches and punch, before the stand opened.
A large crowd filled with local leaders, other area entrepreneurs and Dairy Frost employees amassed throughout the early afternoon to sprinkle the Lambertons with congratulations.
Jim and Christine Petrillo of Earthworks, the woodworking store down the road from Dairy Frost, presented the Lambertons with a wooden pine sculpture of two black bears licking an ice cream cone.
"This is like a landmark," Jim said. "We've enjoyed this ice cream here for 25 years."
Mother and daughter Barbara and Linda Eastman said they've made a tradition of bringing their dogs to Dairy Frost for the frozen pup cup treats.
"The smartest thing they ever did was sell pup cups," joked Linda, who had her dog, Max, with her at the anniversary celebration.
"Every one of my dogs has been here for the vanilla pup cups," she said.
The Lambertons were thrilled to have a chance to talk at length with their loyal customers.
"Usually we're so busy waiting on people, we don't often get to talk to anyone at length," Betsy said
The Lambertons' daughter Joy Arcolano, who now lives in Arlington, Mass., is married with a son of her own.
"Everyone asks me if I'm sick of ice cream," Arcolano said. "The answer is an emphatic 'no'!"
Arcalano said many of her best childhood memories are based at Dairy Frost.
She laughed as she recalled the time the 6-quart whipped cream container exploded on her father, blowing his hat off and spewing the homemade whipped cream all over the place.
"Imagine the pressure in a whipped cream can and multiply that," Betsy said.
Many of the Lambertons' employees say Dairy Frost has provided the perfect after-school job.
Mianna Magliocca, who will graduate from Broadalbin-Perth High School next year, has stuck with the job for two years.
"There's never a dull moment and they treat us like family," Magliocca said.
Emilie Rosenberger, who has worked at Dairy Frost for eight years, said it's been a great job with flexible hours as she works toward becoming a registered nurse at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
"I'll definitely be back for ice cream after I leave," Rosenberger said.
The Lambertons also treat their employees to special get-togethers like a show at Proctor's during the holiday season.
Joan Silvernail, who was serving ice cream sandwiches Sunday, said her son, Kyle, worked at Dairy Frost for five years. He started when he was 16.
"When it was slow here, he could do his homework," she said. "They were always very accommodating to the kids when they had sports going on."
However, New York state isn't planning to be as accommodating as the state plans to build a roundabout at that intersection, which would cut into some of Dairy Frost's property.
Ed Lamberton said that as the state progresses with plans for the roundabout, people have expressed concern.
"It'll take a lot more than that to get us out of here," he said, adding that Dairy Frost will lose a little bit of its parking area to the state but, "it is what it is."
On Sunday, the Lambertons donated $2,500 to the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Broadalbin as a way to give back to the community.
Hours are approximate, but Dairy Frost is typically open from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the summer and 1 to 9 p.m. when school is in session.