While Rosati Ice’s (suburban Philadelphia, PA) and Miky’s Ice & Ice Cream’s corporate offices (El Paso, TX) are separated by thousands of miles, these family-owned companies share similar humble beginnings and father-son partnering.
First off, both companies started in homes and, as demand grew and more space was needed, they built their offices and warehouses. Next, as the owners’ sons attended high school, the teenagers worked part-time and joined their fathers full-time upon graduation. Sean Trotter, son of Rich Trotter, President of Rosati Ice, heads up the school side of the business. Whereas, Miquel Castillo, eldest son of owner, Demetrio Castillo, manages the block ice and bagged ice component of their business.
According to their Facebook home page, Miky’s Ice & Ice Cream is a “wholesale ice cream and concession company committed to providing the most affordable and quality products.”
Miguel shared the company’s history with me. His dad worked at a factory and in his time off he “did ice cream.” In 2000, his dad was laid off because his employer moved their operations to Mexico. Already knowledgeable of the ice cream industry, Demetrio devoted ALL of his time to his new company when Miguel was only ten years old.
“Dad bought an ice cream truck, then another one and employed his father-in-law as his second employee. In 2002, he had four trucks in his backyard, all he could fit. Dad had to buy the lot he’s in now. Later, he bought two more lots and expanded to 15 trucks in 2011.”
When asked about the origins of the company name, Miguel reminisced, “I’m the eldest of three kids, so maybe from my name. But possibly it’s from the drawings of Mickey Mouse on the trucks. Not sure which came first.”
Like other mobile vendors, COVID impacted their business. On the positive side, “the first year of COVID – with people being home more – sales were in the thousands, versus a typical day’s sales of $400. We downsized to eight trucks, as no one is interested in vending. Seems to be the cycle,” states Miguel.
As for the negative COVID effects, product shortages affected their sales and, as usual, they became resourceful. Miguel states, “Because we are located in a border town, we got good at exporting ice cream. Prices held steady up until this year.”
One product they are never short of is dairy-free, nut-free, refreshing Rosati Italian Ice. “I’ve known Rosati Ice as a teenager due to crybaby.” Farmers Select was selling Rosati Ice in the 90’s and 2000’s and business grew due to adding this new novelty item. “We’ve been buying Rosati Ice for at least 15 years, could be 20.”
For this season, they have 6-ounce cups of rosy’moji (cotton candy/blue raz), crybaby cherry, crybaby watermelon and 10-ounce cups of cherry, coconut, lemon lime, mango, and patriot selling on their trucks.
Everyone has their favorite Rosati flavor. For Miguel, his dad, and their adult customers, it’s mango. (And mine too!) “The kids love Rosati’s crybaby and rosy ‘moji.”
Finally, before the country shut down due to COVID in March 2020, Rich Trotter traveled to Texas and shared quality time with Demetrio and Miguel. Rich concludes, “The Castillos are a hard-working family, and they are great to work with.” And the generational bond continues!
Miky’s Ice & Ice Cream
120 Walker Street
El Paso, TX 79905