(Dec.19, 2014) Dumser’s Dairyland has scooped a lifetime’s worth of ice cream and put out an equal amount of good food for Ocean City residents and visitors during its first 75 years and there’s no indication that it won’t continue going for just as long.
Ice cream, though, is the main ingredient in the iconic business’s operational recipe.
“Our quality ice cream is the key to our success. We make our own here at the headquarters [Philadelphia and Worcester Streets] and it has the best of everything in it,” owner Don Timmons said.
And it isn’t as if Dumser’s hasn’t had time to get to know its products.
Gladys Dumser opened the first shop on the Ocean City Boardwalk in 1939 and when Dumser retired 33 years ago, Timmons bought her two Dumser’s locations on the Boardwalk and went on to add five more. He also knew what he was getting into when he became a restaurant owner. Timmons grew up on the Eastern Shore and worked at Dolle’s on the Boardwalk from 1968 to 1975.
“It came about that way, my first store just happened to be an ice cream shop,” he said.
And that’s one thing, the ice cream, that hasn’t changed.
“It’s always been the same, Dumser started out making her own ice cream and we have continued the tradition,” Timmons said.
The most popular flavors are vanilla, peanut butter and Oreo. They always have new ones, featuring whatever strikes the owner’s fancy, and generally it depends on the time of year. Currently, pumpkin pie is a fan favorite.
“Since 1939, Dumsers has been providing consistent, high quality products and services to its large customer base,” said Executive Director of OCDC Glenn Irwin. “Enjoying Dumser’s ice cream remains a tradition to so many families visiting Ocean City.”
That would be true for the Clauss family of Columbia, Tenn., who visit Ocean City whenever they get the chance.
“We love Dumsers because it has a wonderful family atmosphere. It may be a year or longer between visits to Ocean City, but we always end up there because the food, service, and ice cream is exceptional,” Eric Clauss said.
Bill Walsh, a general manager, has been working at Dumser’s for 30 years. He was limited to summer hours for his first five years and eventually became a year-round employee. For a little more than 20 years, Walsh has been managing Dumsers on 49th Street.
“I like working with employees and customers. There is a personal touch to the restaurant business,” Walsh said. “The family atmosphere drew me in and it’s always been a tight knit group. Most employees stay for a while.”
Over the years, Walsh has seen generations of customers and employees who frequently visit Dumser’s. Little brothers and sisters of former employees or customers who now have children share the experience, he said.
Next May, residents and visitors will have another opportunity to sample some Dumser’s hospitality when it opens a coffee shop in front of its factory on Philadelphia and Worcester Streets.