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The oldest Baskin-Robbins in Raleigh has closed, leaving behind plenty of memories

The Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Cameron Village  is serving its last scoops Wednesday, May 16, 2018,   closing after more than 50 years in Raleigh.
The Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Cameron Village is serving its last scoops Wednesday, May 16, 2018, closing after more than 50 years in Raleigh. Baskin-Robbins

The Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Cameron Village is serving its last scoops Wednesday, closing after more than 50 years in Raleigh.

It's the last ice cream-only Baskin-Robbins left in the Triangle and one of the few left in the country, with most ending up as combo shops with parent company Dunkin Donuts.

Owners Cecil and Robin Holt, who bought the franchise four years ago, posted a letter on their shop door Wednesday morning announcing they were retiring from the ice cream business.

"We will miss our dedicated customer base and their stories of the history of Cameron Village Baskin Robbins," the letter reads. "It has been an honor to serve such a loyal group of customers and we will close happily with fond memories."

Dunkin Brands didn't extend the Cameron Village location's franchise license, Cecil Holt said, saying its age and lack of a drive-thru was out-of-step with the brand standard. Holt said Dunkin Donuts offered to help them relocate the shop, but that he declined, saying it was time to retire.

"It was a great experience," Holt said in an interview. "But seven days a week is hard on us and we have other jobs."

Holt said he and his wife bought the franchise as a bucket list checkoff as they prepared to wind down into retirement.

They ended up inheriting the traditions of generations of Raleigh residents and neighbors.

"We had regular customers, and you come to learn how into routines certain people are," Holt said. "We had people coming from Durham."

While on the phone doing an interview, Holt said goodbye to regulars as they left the shop for the last time. Ice cream is great, he said, but the best part of the shop was being able to give many of his employees their first job.

"That was probably the biggest enjoyment, helping the kids with their first job," he said. "You realize the maturity of them, some are giving that check to their parents to help pay the bills."

The Cameron Village Baskin-Robbins will close at 10 p.m. tonight. Holt said any leftover ice cream will go to the local Navy recruiting branch around the corner, who was the first to call dibs.

"It's been a pleasure," Holt said.

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