The name “Mobile” Ice Cream is very fitting for our long-time distributor friends in Ashland, VA for two reasons. First, Miklos “Miki” Jona’s company has 40 ice cream trucks (up from 7 trucks when the company was started in 2003) on the road delivering frozen treats to neighborhoods and offering them at special events, birthday parties and daycares. Thus, this family-owned company is categorized as a “mobile” vendor in the ice cream industry.
Second, Miki, his wife, Aniko Levai, and their two teenage sons live a “mobile” lifestyle traveling in their RV across the country. Not your average office. But then again, Miki is not your average business owner. First generation Hungarian immigrant Miklos, states, “When the pandemic started two years ago and our sons were home, we didn’t want them sitting around, so we decided to travel while they attended school virtually. And, boy, did they travel! From sea to shining sea. For example, they lived in California for six weeks and recently, they spent time in Arizona, and they will be “mobiling” to Niagara Falls this spring.
When Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, and I chatted with Miklos, he and his family were in the Florida Keys (since mid-December) and Miki admitted, “My kids don’t want to leave.” I didn’t want to leave the zoom interview because his travel stories were so fascinating. During our visit, his sons -ages 11 and 13 – squealed with delight in the background; they just caught a grouper and wanted to share their catch with their father. Previously, they caught two different types of sharks. What wonderful life lessons! Rich and I will fondly remember the view we got on our zoom cameras and a proud dad sharing this special time with his sons … and with us.
I am always curious about the origins of Rosati’s customer relationships. Miki shared that previously he worked for Ron Bright, one of Rosati’s customers, and met Rich Trotter at a convention. “I purchased Italian ice from other companies, but Rosati’s is better. Like me, our customers like Rosati’s product quality and variety.” You got that right because Rosati Ice’s taste, texture and color is legendary with more than 200 SKUS from 4-ounce school cups to 2.5-gallon tubs for scoop shops. All made in a dairy-free, nut-free facility in suburban Philadelphia.
For last season, Miki brought in refreshing Rosati Ice’s 6-ounce cups in crybaby sour apple, crybaby sour cherry, rosy ‘moji, and lemon, along with 10-ounce cups of Rosati’s Italian Ice in cherry, cotton candy blue raz, crybaby sour apple, mango, and watermelon
“Miki claims “We sold out of all our Rosati Italian Ice inventory.” And why not, when Rosati Ice is America’s first and the World’s best Italian ice!
For this season, Miki plans to add Rosati’s mangoneada cups to his menu for his huge Hispanic market. After all the challenges of the last two years, Miki is optimistic and says “Hopefully, it will be a good season.”
Not only do Miki’s sons attend school remotely but he and his office manager, Kristen Allen, work remotely as well. “Kristen is the glue that holds it all together. She’s great”, boasts Miki. Miki is not the only entrepreneur in the family. Aniko, his multi-talented, tech-savvy wife has her own successful business – placeofmytaste.com – chock full of decorating ideas. Check out the photos of their festively decorated RV. So much creativity in one small space. And, in ONE family!
I was so blessed to witness these two fathers – and business owners – share their hopes and dreams for their children and their industry on the zoom interview. “You are living the life you want to live,” Rich concluded, and Miki cheerfully and proudly agreed. Happy trails to you, traveling man, your beloved family, and your awesome team.
11186 Hopson Road
Ashland, VA 23005
Who doesn’t enjoy going to a scoop shop, especially during the summer. The minute you walk in, it’s magical, with the bright, cheerful colors and the flavorful selections. And how about that cool vibe? The shiny glass freezers encourage you to peek inside. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time choosing, as they all look oh so delicious.
Rosati’s newest scoop shop owner, Tracey Lipps, grew up in Hart, Michigan and purchased it six years ago from her in-laws, who owned the legendary shop since 1995. Since Tracey has always worked there, she knows the business, the customers, and the community.
While the scoop shop is relatively small, only 400 sq.ft., it makes a large impact by creating memories for the community and tourists with its lakeside location and Tracey’s creations.
Rosati Italian ice Quenches their Thirst and Their Taste Buds!
Tracey thrives on creating new concoctions. Imagine enjoying her “banana flutter nutter sundae. (You had me at banana!) It’s banana pudding ice cream with peanut butter sauce, whipped cream and a cherry” according to her facebook post.
Along with her passion, their location is definitely an asset. This quaint shop is near Silver Lake Sand Dunes and their customers stop in for a refreshing treat to cool off. Rosati Italian ice quenches their thirst and their taste buds!
So how did Rosati Ice’s cups get in Hart Dairy Delight? It’s a matter of channels of distribution. In March 2020, (right before the shutdowns) Rich Trotter, owner, Rosati Ice, participated in a food show with the folks at Cedar Crest Dairy. Their buyers immediately knew a good thing when they tasted Rosati’s full flavor Italian ice and ordered Rosati Ice in 2.5-gallon tubs, 6-ounce and 10-ounce grab-n-go cups.
Cedar Crest’s sales rep contacted Tracey about adding a dairy-free, nut-free frozen dessert option to her menu of soft and hard serve ice cream. “I like Rosati’s smoothness. It’s a great product. Rosati Italian ice fills a niche, since I don’t have room for a slushee machine,” claims Tracey.
Last season, Tracey added Rosati Ice’s 10-ounce cups in American Hero (strawberry lemonade) and mango, and she will do so this season. “It takes a full season to get the word out about a new item. Everyone that tried Rosati Italian Ice liked it! This spring, my customers started asking for Rosati Ice when I opened up for the season.”
Unbeknownst to many folks, the proceeds from the sale of Rosati’s American Hero cups go to support the mission of Soldier Strong – “helping veterans take their next steps forward in life.” This appealed to Tracey and resonated with her customers, so she proudly displayed our American Hero decal in her shop’s window. Why? Like us, Tracey supports a noteworthy cause – Operation Gratitude. According to their web site, their mission is “to forge bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder Heroes …”
If you are like me and wonder what scoop shop owners do during their “off’ season, I couldn’t resist asking Tracey. She is involved with the Hart Economic & Redevelopment Team and books bands for the nearby park for their “Music on the Commons” events.
With all that this working mom does, I guess you could say Tracey is the “hart” and soul of her scoop shop and her beloved hometown.
Hart Dairy Delight
206 E. Main Street
Hart, MI 49420
Like them on facebook: @HartDairyDelight