Bubba’s Ice Cream, a Danville institution, plans to move after 64 years to North Main Street

Bubba’s Ice Cream, a Danville institution for frozen treat lovers since 1959, is moving from its original location on North Main Street after closing for the season.

The destination serves at 2626 North Main St. will be open for the last time this weekend before resuming March 1 at 2455 Franklin Turnpike next to the Rubens Too restaurant.

Owner John Arnone, who bought the business from founder Clarence “Bubba” Barker’s family in 2016, said owner Roman Eagle Rehabilitation and Health Care Center wanted to demolish Bubba’s building and turn the location into a parking lot.






Bubba’s Ice Cream employee Abbie Wilcox prepares to serve a banana split to a customer on Friday afternoon. Owner John Arnone said the company’s current location will offer its products for the last time this weekend before closing for the season and reopening at a new location on Franklin Turnpike in March.


John R. Crane PHOTOS, Register and Bee


Additionally, Arnone said he was looking for an updated building for his business.

“I had been looking for a new location for several years,” Arnone said Friday morning. “The current facility is old, outdated and inefficient for our needs. We really needed to modernize. »

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Bubba’s Friday afternoon customers remembered the regular ice cream stops they’ve made at the North Main location for decades.

Seventy-three-year-old Buddy Sigmon grew up less than a mile from Bubba’s home and had frequented the business since he was in elementary school.

“We will miss it,” he said of the current location which has “great people, great food.”

Danville resident Sigmon remembers when Barker opened the facility.

For 65-year-old Blairs resident Starlet Lemon, this was the place to go when she was in high school in the early 1970s.

“You always came to Bubba’s as a teenager,” Lemon said, holding a strawberry ice cream cone in one hand and a split banana in a cup in the other for her hubby. “It was the right thing to do.”







by Bubba

Customers grab treats at Bubba’s Ice Cream on North Main Street on Friday afternoons. Owner John Arnone said the current location will serve produce for the last time this weekend before closing for the season and reopening at a new location on Franklin Turnpike in March.


John R. Crane, register and bee


Before buying Bubba’s nearly seven years ago, Arnone was new to the area and looking for a business to invest in. Bubba’s had fallen on hard times and was closed at the time, Arnone said.

“Roman Eagle had purchased the property and the business,” he said. “They felt it [Bubba’s] was recoverable. I bought the business from Roman Eagle.

Roman Eagle, however, kept the land where Bubba is.







by Bubba

Bubba’s Ice Cream has been at its current location on North Main Street since 1959. Owner John Arnone said the current location will serve its products for the last time this weekend before closing for the season and reopening at a new location on Franklin Turnpike to March.


John R. Crane, register and bee


Arnone felt the company had potential.

Bubba’s is popular for its soft serve ice cream, split banana in a cup topped with homemade maple syrup pecans, as well as its strawberry sundae and hot fudge sundae. Arnone has also offered Italian gelato in the company since 2019.

It also serves hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches.

There may be a few more items when Bubba’s opens in its new location next year, and Arnone wants to open more locations in a few years. The Franklin Turnpike facility will be in a former car wash, comprise more than twice as much space and have drive-thru, he said.

Arnone hopes to franchise Bubba’s in the next three to five years, starting more facilities in Danville and other locations within hours’ drive, he said.

Javita Thomas, who lives near Bubba’s, has been a regular here for about 30-40 years. She didn’t seem saddened by the upcoming move, but the North Main location was more convenient for her.

“It is what it is, but I like it better here,” said Thomas, 45. “I’ll still go to 41 [to the Franklin Turnpike location] because my mother lives there.

Charles Bigelow drove up from near Greensboro, North Carolina, to Bubba’s house with his two children. Whenever he ventures to Danville, he always stops at Bubba’s, he said.

“I can’t come to Danville without coming to Bubba’s,” he said.

Grabbing a strawberry-banana milkshake for himself and cups of ice cream for his 7-year-old daughter Gabriella and 5-year-old son Charles, Bigelow said: ‘It’s just a staple where you can get good food and ice cream.”

Bigelow, 58, has been coming to Bubba for 48 years since growing up in Yanceyville, North Carolina.

“I hate to see them closing this place because I have so many memories,” Bigelow said.

Sigmon was also nostalgic for the site’s closure.

“Every time you drive by here you’ll be like, ‘This is where Bubba used to be,'” Sigmon said.

But loyal customers need only head to Franklin Turnpike to continue enjoying Bubba’s singular ice cream. Bigelow will continue to bring her children to the facility after her move.

“We have to continue the tradition, and they will bring their children to Bubba’s,” Bigelow said.

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