Mike Canzona couldn’t find an inexpensive, family-friendly ice cream store in the East Valley. So he decided to open his own.
Not so at Gilbert Ice Cream, which Canzona opened in January.
“My whole thing was to bring premium ice cream in here and do it at reasonably low price,” he says.
It’s not Carzona’s first foray into the food business.
The 47-year-old spent 20 years in the telecommunications industry before buying several hot dog carts about five years ago. He also operated a couple concession stands in the Valley.
Last year, however, he sold them all to open Gilbert Ice Cream next to Gilbert Pizza in the Gilbert Town Center. He and wife, Cheryl, live in the neighborhood behind the store.
“I’ve been sitting in Gilbert Pizza for a year looking at this place sit empty,” he says.
So he signed a lease for the 1,500-square-foot space and signed up with Iowa-based Blue Bunny Ice Cream to become its only Valley ice cream shop.
“I picked the name Gilbert Ice Cream because I wanted to project the image of being part of the town,” Carzona says. “I picked Blue Bunny because I can charge under two dollars for a single scoop.”
Those $1.99 scoops are available in 28 flavors, with vanilla and mint chocolate chip proving the most popular so far, he says.
Carzona continues to draw on his hot dog background by offering Front Row Franks, custom made in Phoenix, and sausages. Specialties include Zona Dogs, a spicy Italian sausage with peppers, and Chicago Dogs (pictured at right).
“The guy who used to own Al’s Chicago Style in Gilbert comes in three times a week,” Carzona says.
Also on the menu: build-your-own sandwiches for $4.59.
“I always want to focus on ice cream, but I want people to know I have quality hot dogs and deli sandwiches,” Carzona says. “I put a quarter-pound of meat on — and they’re under five bucks.”
Gilbert Ice Cream
Where: 1150 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert (south of Warner Road)
Open: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday (ice cream only), 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Prices: Ice cream $1.99-$4.49, hot dogs $3.99-$4.59, sandwiches $4.59.
Info: (480) 558-5180 or www.gilberticecream.com