Sweet Journey – Humble Beginnings – Respected Industry Leader: DeConna Ice Cream

By Diane McNitt , Rosati Ice Brand Ambassador

Posted July 16th, 2020

The dream of “Big Daddy” Don DeConna, a WWII Veteran born in Pittsburgh, has grown to be Rosati’s oldest customer and a respected leader in the industry. DeConna Ice Cream is headquartered in Reddick, Florida. Unsatisfied working in the steel mills, Don decided to take his love of ice cream to a warm, sunny area and moved to Miami in 1947. And the rest is… well, sweet history.

Rosati Ice and DeConna have been on a sweet journey together since current owner, Vince DeConna’s dad managed the company and stayed active into his ‘80’s (now that’s a legacy!). Vince bought the company from his dad in 1990 and his son, Nick joined him in 2015.

Similarly, Sean Trotter, Rosati Ice owner Rich Trotter’s son, joined the company in 1997. Two generations of two legendary companies are collaborating to bring smiles to folks’ faces. What could be sweeter than that?!

The similarities of these family businesses continue through the years. After WWII, Rosati Ice and DeConna moved from their original locations to larger, more modern facilities to manufacture and warehouse more product and serve their growing number of customers.

Vince fondly recalls when Rich Trotter met with him before he bought Rosati in 1997 and they quickly became friends and continued the business relationship started by Sam Rosati and Don DeConna.

Rosati’s Italian Water Ice product line includes 4.4-ounce “school” cups, 6-ounce cups for mobile vendors and 10-ounce cups and 2-quart party pails for food stores in addition to 2.5-gallon tubs for scoop shops. That’s a lot of SKUs! “Anything Rosati carries we sell,” states Vince.

In the early years, “we just carried Rosati Ice’s 2.5-gallon tubs and then Rosati’s 6-ounce cups. When Rosati started producing 10-ounce cups, we brought them in.” Vince continues, “folks love the 10-ounce cups!”

Together, fifteen years ago, Rich and Vince developed the “typhoon” cone cups – blue raz lemonade Italian ice with a gum ball at the bottom of each cone. “They’ve been a great seller ever since. We sell a lot of them across Florida and Georgia.”

When Rosati added 4.4-ounce Italian ice cups to meet the nutritional guidelines of schools, guess who brought them in? DeConna Ice Cream.

And why not? According to Vince, “Rosati Italian water ices are flavorful and refreshing with great texture, great selection, colorful packaging graphics and scoopable.” 

Rich Trotter can agree with Vince’s observation as Rosati’s production heats up at this time.  “Consumers prefer Italian ice over ice cream as the temperature goes up. This is peak time for Rosati!”

Rosati has helped DeConna increase their sales by “offering another product to sell in the hot months.” For example, decades ago Vince DeConna worked with the manager of a water park in Florida. They set up their dip freezer, filled it with 2.5-gallon tubs of Rosati ice – which they bought every week – and have been buying ever since (until the current shutdown due to COVID 19).

Thanks for the sweet journey, may it continue until a third generation joins DeConna Ice Cream.

DeConna Ice Cream

6300 W Highway 318

Reddick, FL 32686


Facebook: @DeConnaIceCream

Instagram: Deconnaicecream

Recent Posts
About Rosati Ice

Rosati Ice, based in Clifton Heights, PA, is the oldest Italian Water Ice manufacturer in America.