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Ottumwa Stories: Generations Serving Generations
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Ottumwa Stories: Generations Serving Generations

What makes a great summer weekend in a Midwest town? Whether you call it the dairy freeze, soft serve place, or the whippy dip, most of us can remember capping off a day in the sunshine with a trip to the local ice cream store.

In Ottumwa, Iowa, this means a trip to Grahams Dairy Freez…the ultimate multigenerational experience. From hand mixed soft serve and toppings, to malts and flurries, to a summer hot dog, Grahams has it all. Grandparents and parents alike pass on their favorites to their children. 

Grahams defines the phrase "family business." Opening as a full dairy in 1908, current owner Alice Vandelum’s family purchased the business in 1968 and has been serving Ottumwa families for 50 years. Alice currently runs the business with her 2 sisters, and most of the staff are either family or friends. 

Alice loves the fact that customers come to the window and say their grandparents came here as a kid. Her favorite, the chocolate peanut butter flurry, is a hit with many customers who say that you get your money's worth here.

For many of us, we know that winter is coming or ending when the local ice cream store closes or reopens for the year.

But summer is longer in Ottumwa with Grahams extended season: February 15th to November 6th!

Image credit: Mackenzie Putich

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