“Happiness is just an ice cream truck away” is the slogan on our great friends and distributor’s web site – Big Bell Ice Cream in Minneapolis, MN. CEO (Chief Eating Officer, get it?) James Freid and his wife Karen offer ice cream truck catering and special event services throughout the Twin Cities, and they couldn’t be happier.
Big Bell Ice Cream has that right – happiness IS buying a refreshing treat from an ice cream truck, especially when the heat and humidity crank up. And, especially now, with folks working from home and parents home with their young children. Who doesn’t have fond memories of eagerly waiting in line and tiptoeing to see all of the colorful cool stickers on the trucks and deciding which one to choose?
I’ve gotta admit, to this day I still can’t decide.
In addressing the current situation, James claims, “Ice cream trucks lend themselves to social distancing. Customers spread out while waiting in line. We held off an extra month getting our trucks out so we could train our drivers and enable customers to get accustomed to the new routine of social distancing.”
James fondly recalls when he met Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, with his wife Debbie and his young daughter at the Ice Cream Convention. “Rich is THE nicest guy I wanted to buy from, but never did.”
Lo and behold, eight years ago, he started buying from Rosati Ice and “it’s been wonderful ever since.”
“Rosati Ice’s large appeal is that it’s refreshing (we hear that all the time!) and Rosati Ice quenches your thirst. The cups are easy to eat from and carry around. Rosati Ice is scoopable!” (That’s the Rosati ice pledge!)
When looking for a dairy-free frozen dessert made in a nut-free facility, the Freids were pleased to add Rosati Italian Ice especially “for kids that can’t have ice cream. We didn’t want them to be left out,” says Karen. There’s Rosati for them. We have eight flavors on all of our trucks. Rosati ice is selling well, especially the Cry Baby ice and rosy ‘moji ice.”
It’s not only about the product, but the promotion that creates happiness. “Point-of-sale is everything,” admits James. Rosati Ice’s decals display the cups nicely, they make the product look good, and they draw people in.” What more could you ask for?
While business has slowed down drastically due to COVID 19 and they’ve had problems hiring drivers, James and Karen have kept their sense of humor and reminisce about busier times. Leading up to last year’s July 4th, they worked nonstop till 2AM (that’s not a typo) Well, not this year. This spring, they missed having their trucks on college campuses during finals week. “The students would take a break, come out and buy a frozen novelty. Nope, not this year.
Challenges may continue, but Big Bell Ice Cream and Rosati Ice will forge ahead to bring happiness to folks with ice cream, novelties, and Rosati Italian ice.
3218 Snelling Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55406
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.
6300 W Highway 318
Reddick, FL 32686
“Just do the best you can, that’s all anyone can ask,” my mom always advised me. That sentiment rings true for Michelle Barton, part of the husband (Bobby) and wife team who own Southern Ice Cream, serving the Houston metro area and nearby towns,” according to their website.
When discussing the challenging current economic environment, Michelle says, “We are making it work. Our entire team is pitching in to keep everything moving smoothly.”
Due to COVID 19, Michelle talks about how they “reinvented themselves.” For example, they offer a “sundae ice cream kit” (How fun! I want one!) with hands-free delivery. It’s “super cute,” she explains, and it’s “a way to connect.” Connect they sure did, from kids buying them to show appreciation for their grandparents to parents purchasing the sundae kits for their graduating children.
Mobile vending is the core of their business, now with some necessary adaptations like plexiglass shields for event carts.
Our Houston area friends at Southern Ice Cream sell Rosati Italian Ice 6-ounce cups to mobile vendors for special events at schools, churches and businesses, to name a few. Popular flavors include Cry Baby cherry, watermelon, rosy‘moji, and Cry Baby sour apple. They also sell Rosati Ice’s 2.5 gallon bulk cans in lemon, cherry and mango. “No one beats Rosati’s mango italian water ice. It’s outstanding!”
Like Rosati Ice, Southern Ice Cream found a cause that resonates with them – Child Advocates of Fort Bend. “We are inspired by their mission and how they help.” Proceeds from pushcart rentals go towards the fight against child abuse.
When asked what she likes about having Rosati Ice as a valued vendor, Michelle quickly claims “Great people. Easy to work with. Good consistent product.” And Rosati Ice values this treasured long-term relationship as well.
Together, we will do the best we can. Every day. In every way.
13755 Greenland Drive
Stafford, TX 77477
Family means everything to Al Mele of Havertown (located in the Greater Philadelphia area), our newest mobile vendor. In fact, when asked about his family’s importance, he boasted “absolutely.”
Mele is not new to the food business and, in particular, Rosati Ice. Al admits, “ I was always involved in the food business, one way or another.” As a teen in Northeast Philly, he had a truck. And you guessed it – he sold Rosati water ice from this truck. And, here he is four decades later with another truck. And Rosati Ice.
When selecting his company’s name, Al chose the name “Owl” as his nieces and nephews affectionately call him Uncle Owl.
Al’s refurbished truck has family “literally” painted all over it. His niece created the graphics and his daughter painted the truck in fun, vibrant colors.
Excited to start a mobile vending business again, Al “came back to Rosati Ice”. Last fall, Al contacted the century old company because he knew about Rosati’s superior service and dairy free frozen desserts. “It’s a great product, love the scoopability”. Plus, Mele admired Rosati’s family values which are in line with his. “I am so grateful for Rosati Ice’s help and continued support” explains Al.
Al carries Rosati’s 6-ounce italian water ice cups in Emoji (cotton candy/blue raz), Cry Baby apple, Cry Baby watermelon, and Cry Baby cherry. His offerings also include Rosati Ice’s chocolate, classic rainbow, mango, cotton candy, cherry, blue raz, lemon, and orange cream in Rosati’s 2.5 gallon tubs.
Rosati Ice President Rich Trotter says “Al is quintessential Americana. When faced with daunting challenges, Al, rather than retreat, embraced and overcame them. As a result, Al shifted his focus to press forward in this new venture. We are blessed that Rosati Ice is the beneficiary of the new direction Al chose to pursue!”
Al continues to count on his family in Havertown and now he can rely on his new Rosati Ice Clifton Heights family as well!
Owl’s Water Ice and Treats
Havertown, PA 19083
Our newest customer, Chuck & Debbie Geisel of Chuck’s Homemade Ice Cream, in Southport, NC, may have moved from NJ to NC to “retire” but the pair are anything but. Along with his wife, they own a scoop shop in charming, downtown Southport. They hope to open a second location in their town’s new shopping center. And if that’s not enough, Chuck makes and sells his legendary ice cream to many stores in Brunswick County.
Nothing makes Chuck happier than churning out 400 tubs of ice cream. In one week! Yes, you read that correctly. That’s the equivalent of 21,200 six-ounce cups of ice cream!!!! Chuck’s customer service acumen keeps him a scoop ahead. For example, he recommends to each of his customers that they have a “signature” flavor which he develops. The recent one, called Noah’s Ark, is topped with animal crackers.
Despite the 50 flavors he makes and sells, Chuck was looking to expand his offerings. Chuck explains, “I knew of Rosati Ice when I was working decades ago in New Jersey. He easily recalls, “I remember how good it was – smooth, creamy, and flavorful.” Got that right, Chuck! Taste. Texture. Color. Only Rosati Ice has all three!
“I wanted a dairy-free frozen dessert because folks were asking for a lactose-free novelty. I know it’s taking off, because my first customer – The Scoop in Holden Beach – quickly sold a few cases of Rosati Ice’s 10-ounce cups and already ordered more.” The Geisel’s now have Rosati’s premium 2.5 gallon tubs in their scoop shop.
Chuck’s passion for ice cream has carried over to Rosati Italian ice. Knowing Chuck, by the end of this summer, not only will his ice cream be in several mom-and-pop shops, but so will Rosati Italian ice. So glad, you aren’t “retired” yet, Chuck. Keep on scoopin’!
Chuck’s Homemade Ice Cream
607 N. Howe Street
Southport, NC 28461