Most of us aren’t old enough to remember when the circus came to town, but we can certainly imagine the excitement. The magic. The thrill.
Rosati’s distributor customer, Bob Miner, owner, Circus Ice Cream, and his team bring a sprinkle of that magic and excitement when their mobile vending trucks cruise the neighborhood streets in southern Maryland and when their pushcarts appear at events for schools, hospitals, and businesses. “Every type of business you can imagine,” states Bob.
The wheels started rolling decades ago when Bob worked in landscaping all through high school. Like most business owners I have interviewed for our Rosati Ice Scoop, when I called to interview Bob, his assistant, Matt Volland, said, “He’s in the freezer.” Yep, hands on! Together, handling every aspect of the business.
To name his company in 1979, Miner only had to look at the name on the ice cream truck he purchased – Circus Man.
Bob admits “to scaling back 20 years ago,” but that didn’t change the company’s core mission – selling novelty ice cream, candies, Rosati Italian ice, sodas, and snacks from mobile vending trucks, pushcarts and concession stands. “All prepackaged items.” Unlike many of Rosati Ice’s customers, Bob’s business is NOT seasonal; he has “dry ice contracts with the government 52 weeks a year.”
This savvy business owner’s biggest accomplishment – among many – was staying open during COVID. “No pay cuts, no layoffs, kept doors open,” recalled Bob. But, like many of Rosati’s customers, Miner struggled with “supply chain issues.”
Bob knew about Rosati Ice from another distributor, and luckily, due to changes in Rosati’s logistics and warehouse upgrades, Bob purchased directly from Rosati. His inventory includes: 6-ounce Rosati Ice cups in Crybaby sour cherry and 10-ounce full flavor cups in cherry, lemon, mango, watermelon, patriot (cherry, lemon, blue raz), Crybaby sour apple, cotton candy/blue raspberry swirl, tropical rainbow (cherry, lime, pineapple), and American Hero (strawberry lemonade). All refreshing and delicious! All made with natural sugar and allergen-free!
Everyone has their favorite flavor of dairy-free, fat-free, gluten-free Rosati Ice and Bob is no exception. His favorite is cherry Italian ice and his customers concur; his company’s top seller is 10-ounce cherry Italian ice cups. “I like the people at Rosati. They are easy to work with.”
Operating a business for decades, Miner has been around the block a few times and hears all the time, “I used to buy from you. It’s a generational thing. Over the years, my business has increased by word of mouth and repeat customers. Every day someone contacts us.” (There’s certainly no need to plaster colorful posters all over town to announce his “Circus’” arrival.)
Similar to when the circus’ caravan paraded down the main streets and evoked smiles, “Kids have big smiles when they see the ice cream guy on their street and it makes parents happy, too,” Bob explained. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Rosati Ice (America’s first and the world’s best Italian Ice) and Circus Ice Cream creating smiles for miles!
Wholesale Ice Cream & Snack Foods
16 Irongate Drive
Waldorf, MD 20602
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If you were to ask most folks to reflect on what they wanted to do when they grew up, they probably would admit they had no idea. But that’s not true with Guy Berliner, President, Berliner Mobile Vending and Special Events (formerly Berliner Specialty Distributor), Rosati Ice’s valued distributor in Hyattsville, MD.
Son of business owners, Guy knew early on “gonna do something on my own and be my own boss.” His first business venture was in college when he ran a “fruit and vegetable stand.” And his journey with selling food continued for decades. In the early 70’s, along with his brother, Guy “got into the ice cream distributor business and introduced DOVE BARS™ and Haagen-Dazs™. We sold primarily to supermarkets.”
According to the company’s web site, “Founded in 1973, Berliner pioneered the introduction of gourmet ice creams, specialty and natural frozen foods throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.” Sweet!
In 1988, Unilever approached Guy about selling Good Humor, Breyers, Popsicle™, Ben & Jerry’s, and Klondike™ bars (the treats we all know and love!) and asked him to be an exclusive distributor for these items. Who could resist? Guy certainly didn’t. (I’m craving an ice cream bar as I write this, LOL) Over the years, Guy admits, “I’ve been involved with just about all of them (national ice cream brands, that is).
In January 2020, Guy sold Berliner Specialty Distributor and changed his company’s name to Berliner Mobile Vending and Special Events to reflect its focus. “We offer the country’s #1 selling brands for our mobile ice cream vendors to ensure their success.” How sweet is that?
Guy stated. “Frozen storage is a big part of my company.” They offer “15,000 sq.ft. devoted entirely to freezer space” and “located near major thoroughfares – I-95, Rt. 495 and Rt. 295,” according to their website.
I was eager to hear what advice Berliner would give a new entrepreneur. He said:
“Stay focused. Don’t give up.”
“Keep your eyes on the big picture.”
“Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you.”
Now I know why Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, and Guy Berliner bond so well – they have the same values. Their relationship started years ago when they both attended the IAICDV convention. (If you are curious as to what IAICDV stands for, it’s International Association of Ice Cream Distributors & Vendors. Don’t you just love acronyms?) “Always liked Rich. Great guy. Creative and likeable.”
Berliner stocks 10-oz full-flavor Rosati cherry Italian Ice and refreshing lemon; 6-oz rosy ‘moji (cotton candy/blue raz), 6-oz crybaby apple and 6-oz crybaby cherry. All made in a dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free plant in suburban Philadelphia by America’s first and the world’s best Italian Ice company – Rosati Ice.
If you are interested in having your own ice cream truck, check out their website. There’s great info from purchasing a truck and a freezer to music and electricity. And more. Of utmost importance – SAFETY! Phew! Yes, it can be daunting at first, but you’ll have the backing of Guy’s 50 years of experience to assist you in your new journey.
“Eat Ice Cream (AND dairy-free Rosati Italian Ice) Be Happy” is prominent on Berliner’s website. Who wouldn’t agree? Together, Rosati Ice and Berliner Mobile Vending and Special Events sweeten the journey.
5101 Buchanan Street
Hyattsville, MD 20781
When Ellen Fisher, Executive Director, YEA! Philadelphia, asked Rich Trotter, CEO, Rosati Ice, America’s First and the World’s Best Italian Ice, to be the commencement speaker at their recent graduation, he immediately said “Yes.” And, why not? For decades, Rich has been a mentor to business owners and youth.
And it comes naturally; Rich is the oldest of 13 children. A natural born leader, you could say. Indeed.
Rich shared his experiences while working with his dad as the “4th generation in the soft pretzel business” and the lessons he learned from this “impactful leader.”
1. “Never quit. See it through to conclusion.” His family has a motto “Trotters never quit” and Rich admits, There’s a stubbornness about it.”
This motto served him well during the pandemic as he guided his employees through that stressful, trying time. Despite being laid off, many Rosati employees showed up for work. “This deepened my commitment to my people.”
2. Rich continued, “My father instilled in me to do the right thing, the right way for the right reason. (This should be on a plaque in every CEO’s office) It may not be perfect today, but you will get there.”
3. “Leaders eat last. Feed your troops first. (This philosophy stems from Rich’s days as a student – and an active alumnus – at the United States Military Academy at West Point) Be generous first to everyone on the team who helped you win, then take care of you. Take care of your employees and they will take care of you. It’s not me. It’s the people around me. When you do this, your people will know it’s genuine.”
4. For his insights on success AND happiness, Rich stated, “One doesn’t go with the other all the time.”
During the Q&A, Rich was asked what word he preferred when explaining his iconic frozen novelty – water ice or Italian ice? Rich explained, “Water ice is a Philly thing and most people outside of this area call it Italian ice. We prefer to call ours Rosati Ice. Our Clifton Heights-based facility (suburban Philadelphia) is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free facility and that resonates with a lot of people, especially those with food allergies. Because of the Rosati Ice decals – with these three items clearly noted – on the outside of the mobile vending trucks, consumers know that a frozen novelty with a red rose logo on the cup is ok to eat.”
Speaking of “recipes,” did you know that Rosati Ice uses the same perfected recipe for its legendary cherry Italian ice and iconic lemon Italian ice, both developed by Sam Rosati, founder, in the ‘50’s? Now, that’s a sweet success for his 111-year-old company!
The inspiring remarks continued into the evening. During Ellen’s acknowledgement of the 14 students’ businesses, she highlighted what will make each of them successful entrepreneurs and noted what’s in their “entrepreneurial tool box.”
“Smiling through process will attract customers.”
“Quiet, charismatic approach.”
“Asking for help when needed.”
“Importance of test marketing and thanking people for their help.”
“Writing thank you notes to all 12 investors and taking their suggestions to heart.”
“Ability to accept challenges.”
“Deliberate nature and competitive streak serve well in the business world.”
“Willingness to listen to others and ask questions.”
“Look at a problem and figure out how to do it.”
“Taking the initiative to seek out others.”
“Failure is part of the process of success. Learn from missteps.”
“Turning passion into a way to make money.”
Perhaps you desire to make a career change, start a business and/or encourage a young entrepreneur, Rosati Ice and YEA are thrilled to share these tips with you. Have a Rosy summer. Hats off to all the graduates!
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, (YEA) is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in 6th to 12th grades through the process of starting and running a real business over the course of a full academic year. YEA’s mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity, and talents, launch a venture and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.
How many times have you asked someone “What’s New?” and received a general reply such as “Same old, same old.” “Nothing.” “Not much.” Well, for America’s First and the World’s Best Italian Ice company, Rosati Ice, the words above hardly describe what’s happening with this 111-year-old company. Where to begin?
From mobile vending and food stores to schools and scoop shops, Rosati is always leading the industry with authentic flavors and attractive packaging. And, of course, fun for all!
Mobile Vending – Pup Cups, Decals, T-shirt Promotion
Rosati introduces its first ever dairy-free Yo’ Dawg Banana Flavored Pup Cup! Looks like they like it 🙂
With dozens of selections promoted on the outside of food trucks, vans, and carts, point-of-sale items aid the consumer in selecting their favorite treat. For those who need dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free treats, these icons were added to Rosati Ice’s decals.
To create a memorable experience, to build brand identity and to add cool style to a youngster’s wardrobe, Rosati Ice brought back its popular T-shirt promotion in a tech-savvy way. Simply save the cup lids, snap a photo of them, upload the photo to Rosatiice.com/promotions, choose your T-shirt (Crybaby, Yellow Snow, Rosati rose or Rosy ‘Moji), your size (available in youth sizes only) and fill in the on-line form to order. Easy Peasy. Here’s looking at you, kid!
T-shirts are also available for purchase without the lids promotion and can be purchased by our distributors for your mobile vending drivers, staff and team at a special discount.
Food Stores – Display Boxes, Hispanic Flavors, One-Gallon Party Pails
As a manufacturer, Rosati Ice services both of our customers at the food store level – the frozen food managers and the shoppers. Therefore, Rosati developed new cup trays that can easily fit on the freezer shelves – instead of being thrown away – to save stocking time and to help the consumer easily find their favorite 10-ounce cups. A win-win for all!
Rosati Ice acknowledges our country’s rich diversity and thus, to appeal to the Hispanic market in the Western US, Rosati Ice developed 10-ounce cups in mangoñeada, pineapple, horchata, and tropical rainbow (cherry, lime, pineapple) flavors.
Share the fun! If you want a dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free refreshing frozen treat for your next party, picnic, or reunion, look for the NEW gallon party pails in the Philadelphia area ShopRite stores in the four most popular flavors: cherry, mango, patriot (cherry, lemon, blue raz), and strawberry lemonade. Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, states, “They offer a nice option, and the pails don’t take up a lot of space in the freezer.” (bottom shelf in freezer photo above)
Smart-Snack Approved 4.4-ounce cups now including Good Fortune Ice
For decades, Rosati Ice has been known in schools throughout the country for their 4.4-ounce Italian ice cups that are smart-snack approved and major allergen-free. Rosati Ice seasonal flavors include October’s Chillin’ Bat to all year festive flavors like Birthday Cake. Good Fortune Ice was introduced last season in a yummy orange flavor with a fortune under each lid.
No matter what you call it – Rosati Ice, Italian Ice, water ice, or “wooder” ice – as we say in the Philadelphia area – and no matter where you purchase it, the management and staff at Rosati Ice are always testing and developing new flavors, designing new packaging and point-of-sale items, and creating happy memories for many and fun times for all!
When you work for the best (Rosati Ice, the nation’s first and the world’s best Italian Ice), you want to be the best. That is certainly true of the dynamic duo of Nick Palumbo and Rick Taylor. Their names are frequently spoken together as this hard-working warehouse team share not only a strong work ethic and similar backgrounds and responsibilities, but a sincere fondness for Rosati’s family-like culture and closeness.
Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, confirms, “Since Nick and Rick joined Rosati they quickly formed into THE best warehouse team in my 25 years in business. Professional, reliable and friendly, these two men represent Rosati well.” Their coworkers unanimously agree!
A Lansdale native, Nick started working for Rosati in the summer of 2019. Previously, he was a general manager of a pizza restaurant, and prior to that, he was a general contractor for a property maintenance company. The skills acquired with these two positions have benefited him at Rosati.
Nick and Rick both understand the entire manufacturing process in Rosati’s nut-free, dairy-free Delaware County plant. On the front end, they unload the trucks to receive the items – from stabilizers and flavoring to cups and lids – to make Rosati’s legendary water ice, maintain inventory counts, load production needed for each day, stack and wrap pallets, and, finally, load the trucks with cases and cans of full flavor Rosati Italian Ice to be enjoyed by folks all over the country.
When asked about the impact of Covid, Nick stated, “Covid hit the company hard in the beginning, but since then, we’ve worked hard to bring the business back to good standing.” Rick claimed, “At the start of Covid, like many other businesses, we were struggling to stay afloat, but we all stuck together and made it work.” Indeed, they did!
A Philadelphia native, Rick started working at Rosati in August of 2018. Previously, he worked as a shift manager at Pizza Hut. “Working at Rosati’s has taught me many new skills, such as operating a forklift and working with concrete. I enjoy drawing and playing video games in my spare time.”
While Nick and Rick share many similarities – upbeat attitudes and sense of humor – they have a different favorite flavor of water ice. For Nick, it’s hands down refreshing coconut (available in 2.5-gallon cans and 10-ounce cups) while Rick likes the really sour taste of Rosati’s sour apple (available in 2.5-gallon cans, 6-ounce and 10-ounce cups) “Tastes just like a green apple!”
When asked what they like about their jobs, without missing a beat, they both commented on the family atmosphere. “Everyone feels like family. One great big family. Great time every day. I enjoy the people I work with. All of my coworkers are like family and if I ever need a hand, I know I can rely on them.” (I hear sentiments like these from every Rosati employee.)
“As their manager, I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Who’s best to describe this dynamic duo than their boss, Lou DiGiacomo, Rosati Ice General Manager. “Nick and Rick have both been extremely important to Rosati Ice. Their hard work, dedication and attention to detail have helped to keep Rosati the premier Italian water ice manufacturer in the world. Together, they form a perfect team. No matter what is asked of them, whether it be strenuous days, long hours or unexpected weekend work, their answer is always, “I’ll do it”. Their daily tasks continue to increase as Rosati moves away from dependence on cold storage facilities. Over the last year, we have transitioned to not only a manufacturing plant, but also a logistics hub. 95% of all Rosati orders now ship directly from Clifton Heights, PA and that’s due in large part to their dedication.”
Dynamic duo indeed! Eat your hearts out, Batman and Robin! LOL.
The parallels. The tie-ins. The similarities. It’s fascinating. In fact, it’s unprecedented (I just love that word!) What a wonderful time to be a football fan! And, who doesn’t need some positive energy?
The Philadelphia Daily News’ recent headline stated,” Sirianni’s links to Kansas City rival Reid’s connection to Philadelphia.” Here, in Philadelphia we “bleed green”. “It’s a Philly thing.”
So where to begin? Both teams are 16-3 going into the Super Bowl. Both teams scored the same number of points – 546. (Had to interview my husband for this info).
Oh yeah, and how about those Kelce brothers – Jason (loved him in the Mummers hat in 2018) and Travis? What’s a parent to do? Who do you root for? And, both were in previous Super Bowls? How amazing is that!?
Let’s not overlook that both teams had not one, but six players named to the Pro Bowl.
Now to the coaches. The Kansas City Chiefs – coached by FORMER Philadelphia Eagles coach – were in three out of the last four Super Bowls. And, Nick Siriannni was an assistant coach with the Chiefs prior to Reid’s arrival, then went on to other teams and ultimately become the coach of “The Birds.”
In suburban Philadelphia – home to the nation’s first and the world’s best water ice – Rosati Ice has a tie to Kansas City too, with our industry friends and vendors – Bill and Deb Foley, Kansas City Ice Cream. Last season, the Foleys reported that Rosati’s American Hero (strawberry lemonade), patriot (cherry, lemon, blue ras) and lemon were their top three sellers. Deb boasts “Rosati Ice is like velvet. I just love it.”
The Rosati Ice team loves the energy and excitement surrounding the upcoming game and the amazing partners we have throughout the country selling our legendary, refreshing, full-flavor Italian Ice.
May the best team win!
One of your New Year’s goals may be to hone your leadership skills. But first, ask yourself, what does it take to be an effective leader? To be a respected manager? To serve in a management position?
Rosati Ice’s customer and industry friend, Michael Vasquez, founder, CEO, Cibus Brokerage, has these answers and more. And he should. Formerly, a K-12 food service director in Texas for almost 20 years, he diligently oversaw a $25 million (WOW! This is NOT an exaggeration!) food service operation with 500 full-time employees and 60 cafeterias. These numbers are certainly staggering and quite impressive! Previously, he operated a restaurant for seven years and readily admits, “I love the food service arena.”
As a young manager, Michael was passionate about improving his leadership skills, so he diligently read up on the subject and jotted down management tips on simple index cards. His son, Eric, an English teacher and his daughter, Marcel, a PE coach, encouraged him to publish his insights and – after four years in the making – the “Cards for the Courageous” were printed, similar to a deck of playing cards. Michael stated, “It was an aha moment.” Now others can benefit from his experience. Check out www.berealeveryday.com for more info.
Leadership tip #1
“The operation needs to be about your staff and if your staff is safe and happy in the environment, they will take care of the students and give them their best.”
While serving as Ysleta Independent School District’s food service director, Michael received a sales call from Rosati’s President, Rich Trotter about his 111-year-old company’s smart-snack approved 4.4-ounce dairy-free, nut-free school cups. Rich had to invest time in the sales process due to schools’ bidding practices.
Leadership tip #2
“Management needs to be the example.”
Michael recalled his first impression of Rosati Ice, the nation’s first and the world’s best Italian Ice. “Any student would enjoy the colorful, entertaining cups. They are extremely fun! It’s something different for the school environment. It took a while for the cups to get on the rotation for the menus, but it all worked out. Every year we ordered American Hero (strawberry lemonade) Italian ice and rosy ‘moji (cherry lime/blue raz) 4.4-oz cups.” In addition, Vasquez ordered every flavor from the seasonal selection, such as Hip Hoppin’ and Chillin’ Bat, plus every flavor from the everyday options, such as happy birthday cups and Good Fortune Ice.
When I asked him about Covid, he shared, “We weren’t doing `a““ la carte at that time as the schools were providing free meals to the students.” Many of us (me included) aren’t familiar with `a““ la carte as it relates to schools, so here’s an explanation – a school can only sell an item `a““ la carte to their students if it meets regulations and is smart-snack approved. Rosati Ice’s school cups meet all the required regulations and the naturally colored, allergen-free, made from 100% fruit juice frozen treat is offered in schools across the country.
Founded in 2018, Michael’s company Cibus (Latin for food) Brokerage (a K-12 food brokerage company) “was developed to help our customers succeed. Rosati Ice’s President, Rich Trotter, was one of my first clients and others quickly came on board.” Michael chuckled, “As long as it’s edible, I represent it. Our background allows us to understand our customers and help with their needs.”
Leadership tip #3
“Ask for help. Leading is not always having answers.”
According to their website, “Cibus Brokerage was built on product knowledge, integrity, loyalty, and family.” Now that’s a leadership motto Michael and Rich can agree upon!
Aah …The holidays! Time for gift buying, tree decorating and cookie making. But more importantly, time for visiting with, and reconnecting with, friends and family. And our long-time distributor partner and friend, Peter Diaz, certainly knows the true meaning of family as second-generation owner of (ICDF) Ice Cream Distributors of Florida.
This legendary company’s humble roots date back to 1980 when Peter’s dad left communist Cuba. Peter states, “As an immigrant, he fell in love with the US and started a business. Early on, my dad worked multiple jobs. One as a night security guard and during the afternoons he would sell ice cream out of a truck.
In 1981, the company started in mobile vending with the purchase of a Bordens’ Ice Cream truck. Little by little, the company grew to 150 ice cream trucks. These trucks provided employment and “helped immigrants coming into this country,” recalls Peter.
“My parents, Pedro and Carmen, are a unique couple. My mom ran the books, enrolled in college, and earned a degree in Business Administration and Accounting. My dad knew how to grow a business and the need to look forward.”
A few milestones to note are in 1994 they started their distribution division; in 1996 they branched out to DSD (direct store delivery); in 2000 they expanded to a larger warehouse, then five years later they created their special events division. Impressive growth by a company founded by an immigrant!
According to Peter, “I grew up in the business, it was my life and I fell in love with the industry, especially the mobile vending side.” No coincidence that his passion for the industry has been passed on to his two daughters, Cristina and Lina, who work alongside him while his son, Peter, proudly serves in the Army.
Throughout the years, faith and hard work have been a constant. “‘Work as hard as you can and push yourself to get better every day’ was instilled in me by my parents,’ states Peter.
With three channels of distribution – DSD (direct store delivery), special events and mobile vending, Diaz, his family, and his team keep busy all year long.
ICDF’s relationship with Rosati dates back to the mid ‘90s when Peter met Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice. According to Rich, “Peter puts his people before himself. He has grown the business from one site in Miami to multiple sites covering the whole state.”
What do Peter, his team and his customers like about Rosati? “The quality, it’s not just ice, its creamy, consistent flavor profile is good. Crybaby is well known. Flexibility with new products. Rosati Ice’s business model – small, family-owned business – fits in perfectly with ours,” states Peter. Rich Trotter wholeheartedly agrees!
Everyone has their favorite dairy-free, nut-free Rosati Ice flavor (me included, mine is mango Italian ice). Peter likes crybaby sour cherry. “It’s the kid inside me,” chuckles Diaz. “I go to it every time.” And who wouldn’t, with its fun packaging and lip-puckering sour taste?!
For their three distribution channels and to satisfy their customers’ tastes, this season ICDF purchased (hold onto your lid, this is quite an impressive list) 6-ounce Rosati Ice in blue raz, cherry, emoji, lemon, watermelon, crybaby apple, crybaby cherry, crybaby watermelon. Along with 10-ounce Italian ice in cherry, coconut, cotton candy/blue raz, crybaby sour apple, horchata, lemon, lemon/lime, mango, mangoneada, patriot, pina pineapple, sugar freez cherry, sugar freez mango, tropical rainbow, and watermelon. Plus, 2.5-gallon tubs in blue raz, cherry, crybaby sour apple, pina colada, and pineapple. That’s the majority of Rosati’s SKU’s!
Businesses in the food industry – from manufacturers like Rosati Ice to distributors such as ICDF – have all been impacted by COVID and shortages, not only with employees but with ingredients and supplies. Peter admits, “Everyone pulled through. We pushed and pushed and saved and saved till we came out of it.” His company’s multiple locations with a total of 42 employees are a testament to his integrity and persistence. We know his parents are proud!
The Diaz and Rosati families wish you all a blessed Holiday season. Try something new this season; toast the New Year with a refreshing cup of Rosati Italian Ice.
50 E. 10th Street
Hialeah, FL 33010
480 27th Street
Orlando, FL 32806
Resilience. When you read, see, or hear that word, what do you think of? Who do you think of? For me, it’s Hamed Seresty, VP Operations, Rosati Ice, who oversees purchasing, manufacturing, logistics, storage, shipping, and moreover, customer satisfaction for this 110-year-old Italian Ice manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia.
First off, where did his resilience come from? Who sparked it? Growing up in Iran with his older brother and younger sister, Hamed saw his parents deal with endless hardships and their “not giving up” attitude. No matter what the hardship, his parents always “managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” (That’s admirable and we all can learn this life lesson.)
“My parents always encouraged us to go after our dreams and supported what we needed.” For example, along with his brother, Hamed started a business manufacturing equipment for other manufacturers. Meanwhile, his dad had a business and assigned a part of his building to their venture.
Hamed, his former wife and eight-month-old baby son came here in 2013. He was determined to provide his family with a better life than what they left, despite numerous odds – no family connections, language barriers, all the while learning the culture and the job market. Again, his resilience was put to the test, but Hamed came out smiling and landed his dream job in 2015 AND became a U.S. citizen in 2018. (I was blessed and proud to witness the event.)
After a few odd jobs, Hamed applied for Rosati’s Production Manager Assistant job via Craig’s List. Rich immediately realized his value and within two weeks, promoted him to Production Manager, a year later to Plant Engineer and in early 2016 to VP Operations. Hamed admits, “I started with Rosati just to pay my bills, then I fell in love with the people and found a great man to work with.”
Hamed’s education has served him well in his career. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on production and manufacturing. “The manufacturing process from A to Z,” states Hamed. “I love to study and continuing my education is important to me.” With a huge smile on his face, he shared with me that he recently started the MBA program at West Chester University. “It’s meaningful to me personally.”
Hamed continues, “Try to do right by other people, our family and ourselves,” is his personal motto. And it certainly shows in how he treats his family, friends, coworkers, vendors, and customers.
Hamed’s resiliency was certainly tested during COVID, but like all his challenges, it “taught me good lessons.” He attributes Rich’s positive attitude and – like his parents’ – the “not giving up” mentality for sustaining him during this stressful time.
According to Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, “Hamed is the heart and soul of Rosati’s operations. During the pandemic, Hamed deftly kept the plant running and our people’s spirits high as we navigated through the most difficult challenge of our century-old business’ existence.”
Hard days are gonna go. Resilient people are gonna stay. (I think we need that on a plaque in our homes and offices.)
One of Hamed’s greatest accomplishments has been the process to bring state-of-the-art technology to a plant built in the mid ‘50’s. After studying, evaluating, and interviewing manufacturers, in 2018, three continuous freezers were installed to replace 24 batch freezers run by four employees. The results are outstanding! The new technology needs no manpower, uses 30% less electricity, and increases production by 100%. Who else but a gifted, determined, mechanical engineer could have accomplished that, all the while getting orders out on time? (I am blown away by Hamed’s brilliant mind!) Hamed admits, “All hands were on deck during the transition.”
When Hamed is not at work, he is either ON or IN his boat. Currently, he is refurbishing the engine. “During a tough time, boating helped me mentally,” he confides. “I enjoy taking my son, Parham, out for a few hours on the Delaware River.”
The Rosati family wishes Hamed and his son nothing but smooth sailing. Let’s see where the family tradition of resiliency will take them. And Rosati Ice.
44 Years in Business
A Fleet of 55 Trucks
Those numbers are both impressive and staggering! But, then again, if you knew the family and the company behind them – Ice Cream Wagon in Commerce City, CO – their determination, business acumen and adaptability, you wouldn’t be surprised.
“Not just buying ice cream, creating a memory” is the slogan on Ice Cream Wagon’s website. The original owners from Italy – Joe and Vince – along with their sons, Johnny, Fausto, and Antonio and son-in-law, Paul have created memories for not only their families, drivers, staff, and vendors, but also their hundreds of customers.
Johnny shared with me the first memory of his father, his uncles and grandpa coming to America from Italy in the ‘50’s when they started a mobile vending business. Long story short, some relatives moved back to Italy, while others returned, like Joe and Vince who founded the company in 1978.
“They built custom-made carts and when we were all young, we pushed them. Then, when we were old enough, we drove the ice cream trucks. There was a running joke in our family back then about child labor laws.”
The memories continue with what has helped the company survive and thrive throughout the years. Johnny states, “We are consistent in our hard work. We put our nose to the grindstone for a solid six months +. We are there day in, day out to keep the company moving forward. Nothing happens without this ingredient.” Sound business advice, Johnny.
Recent memories of COVID were shared. According to Johnny, “COVID was interesting for us. We followed all of the COVID guidelines and didn’t skip a beat. We did lose some drivers however, luckily. we received an influx of students, especially out-of-work musicians. We managed to build a crew of aspiring musicians. That never happened before.”
But by far, THE all-time best memories are of the kids. Johnny shared, “Kids call the office and send us letters and ask ‘When will your truck be on my street?’ When we get requests like that, it’s awesome. Our drivers come back to our office and share the kids’ comments about the joy they bring to their neighborhoods.”
Big kids have fond memories too, like the Denver Broncos who enjoyed a refreshing treat during their football camp and the Delta Airlines’ and Lockheed Martin’s employees, just to name a few of their corporate accounts.
The company sells a selection of frozen treats from Good Humor, Klondike, Popsicle, Rosati Ice, and Rich’s Ice Cream. Johnny states, “Our menu hovers around 15 items or so. We have found this to be an effective number giving the customers plenty to choose from.”
Another fond memory is meeting Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, at the annual convention. When they first started carrying Rosati Italian Ice, “we just put it on our trucks. We didn’t have any massive campaign. Our trucks are our campaign,” declares Johnny.
Ice Cream Wagon’s trucks carry Rosati’s dairy-free, nut-free, Italian Ice in 10-ounce cups in lemon lime and 6-ounce Crybaby cherry and “they fly off the trucks. Over the years, we have tried different flavors, but these are the best ones for our market. We really do like the Rosati Italian Ice product and we, as well as our customers, would hate to see our menu without it.” You got that right, Johnny!
There are memories in the chorus music too that is played on their trucks. Customers recognize their trucks by the tune – “Red Wing.” Over the years, they have received so many questions about the jingle that its history is posted on their web site. It’s an intriguing story and worth checking out.
The families and teams at 110-year-old Rosati Ice and 44-year-old Ice Cream Wagon will certainly create more memories and undoubtedly adapt to more challenges. Chime on!
Ice Cream Wagon
6801 Colorado Blvd.
Commerce City, CO 80022