Despite only being open for a little more than half the year, Flub’s is a full-time part of the local community’s fabric.
The family ice cream business got its start in Hamilton in 1965, when Ann and Mike “Flub’s” Connaughton purchased The Dari-ette in 1965, changing its name the next year to Flub’s Dari-ette.
Eventually they dropped the “Dari-ette” portion of the moniker and brought on son Brian Connaughton, who took over the business 13 years ago, opening a second location at 539 Wessel Drive in Fairfield in 2006 and a third location this month at 4065 Hamilton Cleves Road in Ross Twp.
Local resident Mary Jean Strong said the Hamilton business was part of her children’s lives growing up, with chants of “Let’s go to Flub’s” typically ringing out following community events.
“I’m sure there’s a million kids out there that were saying the same thing,” Strong said. “They couldn’t wait to get there. It’s a great family hangout.”
Both of Strong’s children — her son, David, and daughter, Beth — landed jobs at Flub’s in their teens and loved it so much they saved ball caps and T-shirts emblazoned with the Flub’s name as keepsakes, she said.
“They both loved it and I knew that they were working with wonderful people,” Strong said. “It was a good experience for my children.”
Strong and others told the Journal-News the business grew, flourished and became a community icon thanks to the Connaughtons being “a special family” and the quality of Flub’s products always being top notch.
“I think it’s one of the best ice creams in the world,” Strong said. “You can prove that by the line trying to get near it in the summertime.
“The quality is wonderful and if it wouldn’t be, why would there be so many people there?” she said.
Tom Fritsch who was born and raised in Hamilton, said Mike Connaughton’s foresight in picking a location just across the street from a park that hosts baseball games is one of the factors that helped cement Flub’s as a staple of Hamilton life.
A solid, dedicated work ethic is another, he said.
“Flub — or Mike — was a hard worker and so was his wife, Ann, and Brian … he’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen in my life,” Fritsch said. “He’s incredible. You can’t be successful at anything unless you’re willing to work hard at it.”
Brian Connaughton said it’s been “an honor” to take over the business his parents created, grow it and provide “a fun, friendly atmosphere for families to come to not just once a month, but once or twice a week.”
“We’ve got so many loyal customers that … it’s very exhilarating that people think so much of us,” he said.
Opening a second and now a third location is part of fulfilling his father’s legacy, Connaughton said.
“I think it was kind of a dream of his to have multiple stores and just make a living solely on selling ice cream,” he said. “He was also a school teacher and a Realtor and made ends meet with his little ice cream place.
“It was more his hobby and I made it a business,” Connaughton said.
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