Nelson’s Ice Cream announced this week it is opening a second store at 454 Snelling Ave. S. in St. Paul. The announcement coincides with the eight-year anniversary of when Dave Najarian and Bill Bergstrom of Stillwater bought Nelson’s in April 2006. Nelson’s has been in operation since 1923.
“We have had the pleasure of ensuring that the historic ice cream store remained operating in Stillwater, the birthplace of Minnesota,” said Najarian, co-owner and manager of Nelson’s, who has more than 25 years of restaurant experience. “We are excited to expand to St. Paul so more people can enjoy the variety, quality and value of our ice cream that we have consistently provided for more than 90 years.”
“Nelson’s is an experience that evokes many fond memories for generations of families, both locally, nationally and internationally, who make it a regular destination for celebrations or just plain enjoyment,” said Bergstrom, co-owner with Najarian. “By expanding to another great location, we are able to offer more people convenient access to an incredible and reasonably priced ice cream experience in a family-friendly environment.”
The second store will be owned and managed by Najarian’s son, Daved Najarian, a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College who has helped manage the Stillwater location and has years of restaurant experience.
“Since I was in high school, I have enjoyed working with my dad at Nelson’s,” Daved said. “I knew in college I wanted to own my own business in the food industry. When I evaluated other restaurant ideas, I kept coming back to what I know I love and others love — ice cream. I will be working hard to ensure that the St. Paul location matches the original in delivering a quality product with superior service.”
The new store will provide an outdoor patio experience similar to the Stillwater location, along with indoor seating and convenient parking. Both stores will offer more than 40 ice cream flavors — which is the most in-store offerings of any hand-scoop ice cream shop in a five-state area, according to vendors supplying Nelson’s.
The new store in St. Paul will open on May 17. The Stillwater store is open now. Both stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Moving forward, Nelson’s owners plans to continue to make improvements to its stores based on customer feedback. Since operating the Stillwater store, the owners have updated the layout and outdoor patio to improve service, traffic flow and the overall customer experience. They continue to work with their vendors to test new flavors and bring back customer favorites that created customer disappointment when discontinued by suppliers.
“We’ve learned that people take their ice cream very seriously,” Daved said.