Your Neighbor: Meet Nicole Rooney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — After serving 20 years in the United States Army, the Rooney family is excited to reestablish roots in Clemmons. As a child, Nicole Rooney learned early on the sacrifice that came with service. Having a stepdad in the military, Rooney wasn’t surprised to learn in the fourth grade that they would be stationed at Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty). While moves can be tough when you’re a kid, it ended up being fortuitous for Rooney.

“I met my future husband, Chris, at Ft. Bragg,” Rooney said. “He lived across the street from me. We didn’t date while we lived there, but we knew each other and we became friends.”

In high school, Rooney and her family moved back to the Clemmons area when her stepdad retired.

“I attended West Forsyth High School and enjoyed it. My stepdad had been injured on his last jump, towards the end of his career, so we knew this was really going to be home,” Rooney said. “I played volleyball while I was at West Forsyth, and when I wasn’t in school, I enjoyed doing some volunteer work.” 

Realizing how much she enjoyed helping people, Rooney decided the medical profession would allow her to do that after high school.

“I had strongly considered nursing school. I started working in the medical field when I graduated to see if it was something that I wanted to make a career out of first before going to school for nursing,” Rooney said. “However, Chris had reached out to me when a group of our mutual friends were going to meet up at a Carolina Panthers game. I wasn’t nervous when we started talking, but when I was him, I was. After that we started dating and two weeks later, he proposed. We are getting ready to celebrate our 10-year anniversary this year.” 

Rooney knew that it would be difficult to go back to school because of Chris’ assignments in the Army. They also knew that they wanted to have a family. Their first child, Benjamin, 8, was born in Germany.

“We had to move around a lot. Chris was assigned to places all over the world and country in addition to Germany to include Japan, Korea, Kentucky, Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina. It would have been tough to go back to school during that time, and also take care of our kids. We knew that we wanted them close in age, too. Our other children, Evelyn, 7, Lincoln, 5, and Madelyn, 1, were born in different places.” 

While having her hands full as a stay-at-home mom, Rooney would move back to Clemmons temporarily when Chris was on an unaccompanied tour to places like Korea.

“I came back home and stayed with my mom, Debra Orden, and she was a big help and the kids really enjoyed that time with her too,” Rooney said. “We missed Chris so much it so it was nice to have the support of family when we couldn’t be with him.

“During those times that we lived with my mom, I also worked at Dream Dinners as their operation manager. I loved it because the concept behind the company seemed brilliant to me. Help busy families like ours make meals so that they could spend more time together and enjoy each other’s company. My mom had also worked there, and it was fun to get to do that together. While working there, she had gotten to know some of the other business owners in that shopping center. One of them, Brad Wall was the owner of Abbott’s Frozen Custard. Brad had mentioned to my mom that he was looking to sell the store, but wanted to make sure it would turn over to someone he knew would ensure its success, preferably someone he knew. My mom said she would keep an eye out for someone and pass the information along. One of those people ended up being me. Chris and I really talked it over and decided, it was worth a conversation since his time in the military was coming to an end. We went in and talked to Brad and felt very strongly it was a great opportunity. The brand spoke for itself, and it would allow us the chance to get more involved in our community.”

On Feb. 1, the Chris and Nicole took over Abbott’s Frozen Custard together as a family.

“We love getting up every morning and making all of our products from scratch,” Rooney said. “Everything is made fresh right in the store each day. We have four core flavors every single day, however all the other flavors are decided and created daily for variety and seasons. We have been wanting to add a box for those to suggest their favorite flavors, and we have asked for feedback from customers when they come in too. Whether you want just a sweet treat, or would like something for a special occasion, fundraiser, birthday party, wedding, we have so many delicious choices from pies, cakes that are 100 percent custard, and sundae kits.”

Having four sampling young entrepreneurial custard experts of their own, you can be certain the Rooney family will continue to provide unique sweet treats to Clemmons and the surrounding area.

“I love that I am able to still be a stay-at-home mom and get out in the community and meet people from all over,” Rooney said. “Especially now that we are raising our children in this community. Chris is almost done finishing up his time in the Army. We are both so excited that after having served our country, we get to support our community in this new capacity.”