Remember the old pharmacy ice cream shops of yesteryear? Ocean Freeze, Ormond’s newest dessert shop, does.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Milton Buckman is a lifelong craftsman, plumber, electrician and home remodeler. Deb Demshick is 30-year nurse, has her real estate license and loves photography. But you reach a certain age, they say, and it feels like time to try something new.
The two now run Ormond by the Sea’s newest ice cream parlor, Ocean Freeze, at 1314 Ocean Shore Blvd.
“I wanted to get in (to this business) because I liked it when I was a kid, going to the ice cream shop,” Buckman said, wiping down display windows. “And the community needed it. … I think everybody has it in their head (to open a restaurant) at some point.”
Opened around Easter, Ocean Freeze is now Milton’s third store — he also owns We Buy Thrift Exchange next door to the parlor, as well as another thrift shop opened a couple weeks back in Flagler Beach.
He had a dream one night, he says, in which friends told him how nice it would be to have a nostalgia-style ice cream shop in town. When he woke up, he knew what he had to do.
The former tattoo-and-piercing shop next door to his 10-month-old thrift store was available, and so he bought it and got to work on renovations. He got a local painter to add art to the walls. Then he asked Demshick, who he’d met last October, to get involved.
“And she’s been 99,000% ever since,” he said. “She’s the brains and the brawn behind the day-to-day thing.”
The decision to shift professions was multifaceted, he says, but a lot of it came down to cultivating a calmer lifestyle.
“I like the idea of people bringing money to me, instead of me chasing it, you know?” Buckman said. As a contractor, you’re constantly driving, he added, constantly chasing a buck. And as time goes by, manual labor hits harder than it used to.
“I’m getting older and tired,” he said. “So this is a lot better, and I don’t hurt as bad at the end of the day.”
But the hours at the parlor are no softer than what he’s used to. He and Demshick routinely work 16-18 hours a day (the shop is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week).
A lifelong Ormond resident, Buckman remembers going to Eckerd Pharmacy and The Flamingo for ice cream with his parents when he was younger. And he made memories in those places. With no other ice cream parlors nearby, he saw an opportunity to give a new generation of kids similar things to look back on.
“I wanted to do something that nobody else was doing,” he said. “So we’re trying to stay old school, nostalgic, but incorporate modern stuff.”
Inside, he plays 1950s’ music, but the décor is bright, contemporary, beach-y.
The two are also targeting the younger demographic by offering free shaved ices for a month to kids who bring in all-A report cards.
“When you’re a kid, there’s so much pressure,” he said. “I used to get all A’s all the time as a kid and never got so much as a pat on the back.”
The shop features different contests, too — like a jelly bean count and their Name the Lizard Contest, in which name suggestions for Ocean Freeze’s mascot are entered, with the winning name, drawn at random, to be permanently painted outside on the store’s logo. The winner will also receive a free sundae and shaved ice every month for a year.
Ocean Freeze has 24 shaved ice and snow shake flavors, and 30 flavors of ice cream.
“I just wanted more than Baskin Robbins,” Buckman laughed. “If I can get more coolers, I’m going to get ten more flavors.”