EXCELSIOR, Minn. (KMSP) - As people strolled through downtown Excelsior enjoying the beautiful afternoon, their hopes of a delicious ice cream cone were quickly dashed when they walked up to Licks Unlimited.
Instead of being greeted by Excelsior’s ice cream man, they were greeted by a sign informing them that Loran Lessard, the owner of Licks Unlimited, had passed away at the age of 80 in April.
“We love Licks—we’ve been coming here for years since my girls were little,” said Michele Franzen, a loyal customer.
Franzen is one of the ice cream shops’ many loyal customers devastated to learn that the legendary ice cream man had passed away.
“[He was] just very friendly and seemed to be a kind hearted man—just always had a smile,” Franzen said.
Lessard opened his ice cream store in 1990 and brought countless smiles to happy customers. He became a part of their family traditions and lifelong memories.
“I was absolutely devastated because this is the staple of Excelsior—Licks Unlimited—it’s really heartbreaking and I do hope they open because the best ice cream is the Almond Joy,” another sad customer said.
Serving up ice cream in Excelsior is a sweet job, said Tommy Drummond with Tommy’s Tonka Trolley, who was Lessard’s competition for years. He said he will miss the friendly rivalry.
Fellow business owner and friend, Connie Frederick, said this summer won’t be the same without Lessard but she knows he leaves a legacy behind in the heart of Excelsior.
“I was very sad because even walking in and not having him there will have a totally different feel,” she said.
Lessard spent his last days opening Licks for the season. While the ice cream shop will remain closed for the time being, it will reopen for the 2018 season.