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The Yankee Express

Dresser Hill Ice Cream goes for $450,000 at foreclosure auction

Paul Zekos of Zekos Group Auctioneers reads “The Memorandum of Sale” before bidding began for the Dresser Hill Ice Cream and Seafood property in Charlton on April 12.

By Rod Lee
As expected, the foreclosure sale of Dresser Hill Ice Cream and Seafood in Charlton took only a matter of minutes, after Auctioneer Paul Zekos disposed of the preliminaries on the chilly and breezy morning of April 12.
In the half hour or so before the eleven o’clock transaction began, people with bid paperwork in their hands stood around speculating on what the sale price would end up being. Only Tim Dugas, whose family owns and operates The Clambox in Brookfield (also on the auction block, later that day) and Teneille Chaisson of Dresser Hill Ice Cream and Seafood seemed not to share in the excitement that prevailed.
“I wish it wasn’t going to happen,” Ms. Chaisson said, as she paced back and forth in front of one of South County’s most popular venues. Her equipment as lease holder of the property sat inside the building, which was closed. Her restaurant was known not only for ice cream but also sandwiches—the Sailor’s Special, the Bacon Buccaneer, the Philly Shipyard—and more.
The sale actually included all of the following: a two-story barn-style building with an arcade area, an automotive garage, a warehouse, overhead doors and upstairs office space; and the smaller structure, which functions as the ice cream and seafood enterprise at the top of Dresser Hill—with panoramic views looking west.  
“I have interest in this property,” Mr. Dugas said (he eventually wasn’t a factor in the bidding, however). “I own and operate The Clambox and I have a lease there for the next three years. My whole family works for me in Brookfield. I own the lot next to [The Clambox, on South Maple St.] and will build a new place on that lot if it doesn’t work out for me today.
“It’s nerve wracking, waiting,” Mr. Dugas said. “I feel bad for Teneille.”
Shortly after 11:00, Mr. Zekos welcomed those in attendance—about twenty or twenty-five people—and launched into a reading of “The Memorandum of Sale” and then “The Legal Notice of Sale.” He explained that a $10,000 deposit would be required on the spot with another $10,000 due “within forty-eight hours.” A closing would occur within forty-five days, he said. There are taxes and “muni liens” to deal with too.
“This is a nice income property and a landmark here in the town of Charlton,” Mr. Zekos said, as an enticement to get his audience primed for a quick sale. The asking price started just below $200,000 but quickly escalated. At one point early on Mr. Zekos reminded the crowd that “this property will not be here tomorrow.” That immediately pushed bids to $325,000, $385,000 and $400,000. When interest seemed to be waning as the price tag crept higher, Mr. Zekos said to one bidder “what the hell is another $10,000;” and to another “an ice cream cone costs more than that here!”
His strategy worked. Michael Madulka, who owns an ice cream shop on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, wound up registering the winning bid—at $450,000. Madulka’s, on Lake Ave., offers “ice cream, yogurt, soft serve, sundaes “and everything in between.”
“He got a good deal,” Mr. Zekos said, as he put his clipboard away. He had described the auction in advance as “the opportunity of a lifetime for someone.”
As he finished placing his deposit, Mr. Madulka was approached by a man from Gibson’s Dairy Farm, who said to him, “I wanted you to know we supply the ice cream for Dresser Hill. I hope you’ll think about keeping Dresser Hill going. The ice cream part of it is a lucrative business.”
“Yes, what are your immediate plans?” Mr. Madulka was asked, as he considered a response to the inquiry from Gibson’s. 
“To come up with the rest of the money!” he said, laughing.
Then, hardly pausing, he said “I will keep it as ice cream. I think I’m going to call it ‘Madulka’s Ice Cream on Dresser Hill.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.