BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL — Nielsen’s Frozen Custard has always been a family affair Р especially at the flagship Bountiful location.
“I had five little kids, had been a teacher (LDS Seminary) for some years at Viewmont, Bountiful and Woods Cross High Schools,” before the business opened, said founder Steve Nielsen.
He had the idea of getting a family farm where all of the kids could work.
But for south Davis County and all of the Nielsen’s, the idea their father came up with probably turned out a lot better.
“I ran into a guy from the Ozarks who had started a custard stand in the 1920s,” Steve Nielsen said.
That discussion led to invention of the patented Nielsen’s Double Custard Freezing Machine, which is still used to make frozen custard locally,. It also led to the founding of the store 31 years ago.
The first location was at the old Crossroads Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City, but the Bountiful location on 2600 South near U.S. Highway 89 followed soon after.
Four of the five Nielsen children are still involved in the business and all live a short distance from the Bountiful store.
Not all of the kids intended to stay with the business, Nielsen said. Two of them have law degrees and another has a master’s in social work.
Many grandkids are also involved. Family involvement is likely to continue for years to come.
“I had no idea we’d be able to expand and support our family,” he said.
There are now family-owned stores in Holladay, and St. George, and a new store is due to open soon in Sandy. There are franchises in Layton, Rexburg, Idaho, Mesa and Chandler, Ariz., and Las Vegas.
“We create a good product so people keep coming back,” Nielsen said.
In fact, the Bountiful location averages about 1,000 customers a day.
“We use the machine that freezes very fast. It has fewer calories, less cholesterol than good ice cream, and it’s never over 30 to 45 minutes old,” Nielsen said.
Top-quality ingredients are included, he said. For instance, the hot fudge comes from a company in Wisconsin.
Chocolate and vanilla are standard flavors, and there’s always a flavor of the day. Around Halloween, pumpkin was featured, made from pureed pumpkin.
Customers can also add whatever they want to their treats, such as nuts, Oreos, berries, etc.
Concretes. thick frozen custard shakes you eat with a spoon, are the biggest seller. That product is shipped around the world to eager customers, Nielsen said.
“We ship to movie sets, have customers from banks in New York City to San Antonio, even ship to Australia and South America,” he said. “It’s been worth all the work. We get to make a living and every single day I get to talk to my kids, work along side them,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen and his wife, Debbie Arbuckle Nielsen, are still very involved, but don’t get involved in day-to-day operation. Instead, they handle scheduling and payroll.
Nielsen was a head basketball coach at South Davis Junior High for years and the company still gives back to area schools.