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The whole scoop on Selma's

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour, in Afton, is currently up for sale. CorTrust Bank, which bought the restaurant last summer at a sheriff's sale, is selling the property. The asking price is $299,000.

Minnesota's oldest ice cream parlor, located in Afton, is officially up for sale.

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour has sat vacant since the winter of 2009. The restaurant closed up shop for the winter and never reopened.

Selma's eventually went into foreclosure when owner Chet Kurtz filed for bankruptcy, and was bought by CorTrust Bank at a sheriff's sale for $746,612. CorTrust Bank, based in Mitchell, S.D., has a branch in Woodbury.

NorthMarq Real Estate Services is handling the sale. The asking price is $299,000.

Ronn Thomas, vice president of brokerage for NorthMarq Real Estate Services, said Selma's has been on the market for the last few months.

"There has been a few offers, but the offers were not acceptable," he said.

The property, roughly 3,000 square feet, includes the restaurant, the adjacent office building and a patio area with fish ponds.

Also included in the sale are tables, chairs, patio furniture, all existing coolers and parlor equipment including the existing inventory, kitchen equipment, stereo system, signs and paving stones.

Thomas said the intent is to sell the property to be operated as an ice cream parlor maintaining the Selma's name.

Thomas said he does not have a guess as to when the restaurant will sell.

"I stopped making predictions when this recession started," he said. "It's a wonderful property, it's a piece of history."

This will mark the third time Selma's Ice Cream Parlour has been on the market in three years.

A struggle to keep doors open?

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour has been an Afton staple since the 1930s when Selma and Eddie Holberg opened its doors for business.

Since Selma's served its first scoop it has become a tradition for many.

The business has transferred hands over the years after the Holbergs sold the restaurant in the 1950s.

Laine McGee bought the restaurant in 1980 and owned it until 2007 when she sold it to local businessman Joe Farrington. That same year the business was sold to Kurtz, who added a Panino's sandwiches to the space.

It is not clear why Selma's, a community institution, has struggled to remain open the last three years.

"The closing of Selma's Ice Cream Parlour and Panino's Restaurant last spring was a big loss for our downtown," Afton Mayor Pat Snyder said. "Situated at the south end of the Old Village business district and directly across the street from Town Square Park, it is an ideal location for visitors and residents alike."

Jim Kaempfer, owner of Afton Leather, located next door to Selma's, said the absence of the ice cream shop has had an impact on the downtown businesses since it was a destination for many.

However, he said he is optimistic that someone will buy Selma's since the price is so reasonable.

"Now that the price is low somebody will snatch it up quick," he said. "With the right attitude and the right people running the place it will do very well."

Kaempfer said he doesn't foresee anyone coming in and reopening Selma's Ice Cream Parlour as something completely different.

"The name is so well established," he said. "It would be a marketing mistake to try and change it."

Snyder said she is hopeful that come summertime everyone will be able to get an ice cream cone.

"You just can't beat the location," she said. "With summer coming up it would be great to have another business in there -- and preferably one selling ice cream."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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