For the third time in three years, Selma's Ice Cream Parlor, a landmark eatery in Afton that makes an undisputed claim of being Minnesota's oldest purveyor of ice cream, is up for sale.
NorthMarq Real Estate Services in Minneapolis has listed Selma's for sale, and has already drawn some interest, said broker Ronn Thomas. "It's an institution," he said.
The history is a definite selling point, along with its location not far from the St. Croix River and a once-devoted clientele. The previous owner added some updates as well, Thomas said. The asking price is $299,000.
Selma's was bought by CorTrust Bank for about $747,000 at a sheriff's sale last summer after it went into foreclosure, and owner Chet Kurtz filed for bankruptcy. Kurtz had reopened the business in 2008, adding a Panino's sandwich shop.
Kurtz had bought the business from the family of Joe Farrington after he died. Laine McGee had owned it for 27 years before that.
"I never had a bad day at Selma's," said Kelly McGee, who managed the place. "It was a gathering place for young and old. It was known far and wide. We had families from Germany who would come to visit every year."
The McGees were the last long-term owners of the business after Selma Holberg, for whom the business is named.
"She dished ice cream until the day she died [in 1966]," said Ken Martens, a local historian and former contractor who has done extensive work on the building over the years. Selma, and her husband, Ed, took over the business in 1930.
Down the street from Selma's, another Afton institution, Lerk's Bar & Grill, also has been closed and its future is uncertain.
Lerk's, reputed to have the best hamburgers in the Twin Cities since opening during the Depression, has been at its same St. Croix Trail location since 1920.
After being transformed into a confectionery shop during Prohibition, Harold (Lerk) Lind turned it into a hamburger joint and tavern. The story goes that Lind got his nickname from "lök," the Swedish word for "onion" (and roughly pronounced "lerk"), because he had picked so many as a boy.
Onions were key to the signature sandwich, the double-patty Lerkburger.
Jim Anderson • 651-735-0999