Gilbert Ice Cream caters to budget-conscious families

Mike Canzona couldn’t find an inexpensive, family-friendly ice cream store in the East Valley. So he decided to open his own.

“I got tired of places like Udder Delights and Cold Stone, where you can’t get out of there with a family of four for under $20,” he says.

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.

Gilbert Ice Cream also offers four flavors of Repicci’s Italian Ice for non-dairy customers.

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

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30 Responses to Gilbert Ice Cream caters to budget-conscious families

  1. Fb says:

    Why would anyone spend $1.99 a scoop for ice cream from the grocery store? For less than the price of 2 scoops you can go to Bashas and get a whole container.

    Udder delights has a better ice cream then Blue Bunny and you’re not only supporting a local business, you’re also supporting a local dairy farm. Cheap isn’t always best when you look at the bigger picture.

  2. We appreciate your comments but you are not getting “ice cream from a grocery store” when you come here. We take pride in what we serve and offer a place where people of all ages can come and hang out with family and friends. There is a difference between “cheap” as you said and being a good value which is what we are striving for. We are trying to make a difference in the community in which we run a business and live. In the 8 weeks we have been open we have hosted school nights and donated a percentage back, sponsored local youth sports, offered activities for seniors and hope to do even more, that is part of our “big picture”. I am sorry you could not come in and actually meet us before you posted your opinion. We never questioned the quality of what you got at these other establishments as they have quality products, they are just not always affordable to some families, we just wanted to give people an option.

  3. sundevl021 says:

    Fb,

    True, you can buy this at the grocery store, but the same is true for beer, and many flock to their local neighborhood bar. I think its important to support all local stores and restaurants, so kudos to Mike for doing this in Gilbert.

  4. Donna Clarkson says:

    Well said Fb….I agree with you 100%

    I am a HUGE fan of Udder Delights and our bill for our family of 4 has never even been close to $20.

    All ice cream is not created equal. Comparing Blue Bunny ice cream to UD’s is like comparing my Vespa to your Harley….just NO comparison.

    Mr. Canzona, I think you would be better off buying your hot dog carts back and peddling your wieners…

  5. anthony dufresne says:

    It would be really great if people knew what they were talking about before posting things as facts. Udder Delights does not make their own ice cream from their dairy. They tell everyone this, but in fact, as we have known several people who work there and have been told by the owners themselves….they buy their ice cream base from some other company and then just throw it in their ice cream machine to spin. Then they pass it off to people as ice cream straight from their dairy! Ask more questions people!

  6. The comment about Udder Delights and Coldstone was taken out of context. They have a great product that many people enjoy. I am sorry if it offended anyone. We support any local business and want all of them to do well. We invite both Donna and FB to come in and give us a chance, they might be surprised.

  7. John Rocket says:

    Man,
    Not a smooth way to start an interview my friend. Name calling another local business, owned by a local dairy farmer that people love and support [Recently named Phoenix Magizine 130 best mom and pop shops, Phx New Times best choc milkshake in the valley, and Edible Phoenix Local farmer/farm hero award(s)] is far from a good marketing plan. Leave out names, you’re making a general statement. Call out UD, you’re opening yourself up to attacks. You want to compare passion, quality, service, and even price….you’re setting your self up for failure. I know UD even offers Free cookies and milk to kids every week, which is ofcourse an unbeatable price. I shop there often, and i don’t pay $5 for ice cream.
    While I’m not ice cream expert, I know quality when I taste and see it. UD has been a fav of my family for the 2 short years they’ve been around, and to know I’m supporting a local, 3rd or 4th generation dairy farmer and Arizona native, that would never call out a neighbor on price, quality, or anything….Is a big deal to me – you’ve most definately lost a visit from me. Too bad.
    Next time, do yourself a flavor and just say “We’ve got affordable ice cream, come check us out!”

    P.S. Congrats on getting an interview with Jess for The Dish. Just as an FYI, A LOT of Foodies and Locavores and food hipsters read Jess’s work. These same people are some of the biggest fans of a place like UD where they make all of their own ice cream in store. It’s like going on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and saying Republicans are idiots…not gonna win you a lot of support. Just sayin.

  8. Garbageman says:

    At least someone is trying to open a business in that foresaken Town Square. I’d say give him a try. We need fresh ideas in there.

    How about a marquee for the theater? No one knows it’s there!

  9. Katie says:

    I just miss Streamers! Bring THAT place back to Town Square.

  10. Jenny says:

    Gilbert Ice Cream and unnamed “boutique” ice cream shops are catering to completely different audiences… I’m a single yuppie type who, given the choice, would skip the Blue Bunny and spend an extra 2-3 bucks to get something higher quality. But not everyone has the budget to do that….

    If you have 3 kids and they all want to go out for ice cream after their little league game, Let’s face it, Blue Bunny tastes just as good to the kids as higher quality ice cream. If a parent can save $10 by spending $15 on ice cream instead of $25, good for them.

    Not every dining establishment has to be a “foodie heaven” type of place! I think it’s great that Gilbert Ice Cream is giving families a non-fancy ice cream option. Lay off of ’em…

  11. Garbageman says:

    Streamers should have survived, but the landlord is pretty tough, I hear.

  12. ewschultz says:

    I hope Donna Clarkson was implying that a Vespa is way better then a Harley…. Right Donna?

  13. Beeinbonnett says:

    Personally, I hate being overcharged at places like Cold Stone and look forward to eating at Gilbert Ice Cream. I don’t think the owner of this place set out to “attack” Udder Delights, I think he was explaing to a reporter his business philosophy and a bunch of typically angry/anonymous commenters decided to start a flame war.

    The guy sells ice cream in Gilbert. He does it cheaper than others. Whoopty-doo. We’re all adults, was it necessary to spout a diatribe?

    Eat more ice cream, and argue about it less.

  14. gilbertresident says:

    Cheryl and Mike, please do not get discouraged by the negative comments on this site. Your icecream shop will make a nice addition to the neighborhood. My family likes to support local small businesses, so we hope to make it down there soon.

  15. John Rocket says:

    Jenny, I don’t think anyone is “laying on” over anyone’s choice to get cheaper made ice cream. I think if the owner didn’t name drop, there would be exactly zero comments on this post. The problem, IMO, is calling out another local business, which opened them up to comparisons.
    There is no place for that, so the comments rolled in.

  16. Cheryl Canzona says:

    I am sorry this started such a huge debate. What was said in the interview was that we as a family could not regularly afford to go to Udder Delights or Coldstone and pay over 20.00 which was what happened when we went there. We are a family of four and could not leave those places for under 20.00. I am sure I will be told we did not order the “righ thing” but I am just telling you our experience. That is what was said. My husband then said he wanted to open a place where a family of 4 could get in for under 20.00. At Gilbert Ice Cream he wanted a place where we could sell a single scoop for less then 2.00 and that is what he has done. He never slammed any of the other establishments and would not do so. I will not post again but I am just sad that my husband is upset over what was happened on this comment page. We have been very busy all day and I know the customers will be back. I am just sorry so many judged us on a comment taken out of context.

  17. garbageman says:

    Interestingly, Water & Ice sells Thrifty ice cream way under $2 a scoop.

  18. Loves Ice Cream says:

    You can buy a 3 gallon tub of Thrifty Ice Cream at Restaurant Depot. That is why they can sell that so cheap. Who cares, just visit them all and try to keep these businesses open. Too many empty storefronts right now.

  19. chick says:

    give this business a break. if their business model works, great. one less empty space.

    i bought thrifty ice cream at h20 and ice, it isn’t cheap.

    thrifty used to be 25 cents a cone when thrifty drug was around.

  20. Snowbird says:

    After reading about Mike Canzona ‘s new ice cream shop, four of us decided to give it a try. We are always looking for new experiences while away from home and this one was such a positive one. Obviously a “people person” , Mike offers more than just a great hot dog and ice cream. We had a very warm welcome and enjoyed the ambiance of this lovely soda shop. We understand what Mike is trying to achieve and wish him much success. Will we go back? Yes, we will drive the nine or ten miles from Mesa before we go back home.

  21. Sally Rider says:

    I have been to Gilbert ice cream several times and love the friendly kids that work there. The ice cream is great and I think they have a great thing going. It’s nice to take the family and enjoy a reasonable treat and fun friendly staff. Yes, we could buy a half gallon on sale but it’s about getting out with your friends and family and having an enjoyable experience. So to all you grumpy haters…. go get your ice cream from Bashas and stay home!! Mike and Cheryl keep up the good work!! 🙂

  22. Cindy says:

    Well for all of you that have not patronized Gilbet Ice Cream you are missing out me and my family love the place and ice cream and food. It does give you an opportunity to sit and chat with family and friends and brings back the memories of the old fashion ice cream palor. Just getting a carton of ice cream and sitting on the couch Mr. FB is not life long goals and ambitions if you want to have fun and support your community. I had an opportunity to talk to Mr.Canzona and he is very nice and supportive in what his patrons want and need from him as a business and a community supporter. I was excited to see someone had the tanasity to open a business with today’s ecomney and start a new business. Don’t see you doing that Mr. Fb. You go Gilbert Ice Cream as me and my family love you and your business.

  23. SueQ says:

    All I know is that I am now craving a Hot Dog and a chocolate shake!!!!! I will visit them!

  24. SueQ says:

    Don’t worry about the mean posters on here Cheryl!!!! Their barks are worse than their bites!!! Let THEM go out and do something rather than hide behind their keyboards all bitter and nasty!!!!!! They NEED more Ice cream in their lives!!!!hee hee!

  25. Jay Thompson says:

    Some people shop at Walmart, some at Nordstrom’s.

    Some people drive a Lexus, some a Volkswagen.

    Some people eat ice cream at UD or Coldstone, some at Gilbert Ice Cream.

    “Why would anyone spend $1.99 a scoop for ice cream from the grocery store?”

    For the same reason you’d spend more on a burger at In-n-Out, McDonald’s or Five Guys than you would buying ground beef and buns at Bashas. For the same reason you’d spend more at a steak house than if you bought a hunk of meat at the butchers and cooked it yourself. For the same reason you’d go to Udder Delights instead of buying the same product in bulk at Superstition Farms.

    Of course you can eat cheaper if you “do it yourself”. What a ridiculous argument.

    If someone want’s “premium” ice cream, burgers, steaks, what ever, knock yourself out. If someone wants more affordable, then you have that option too. Seems like a good thing to me.

  26. HigleyMom says:

    Cheryl,
    Dont’ let the turkeys get you down. I’m thrilled with your restaurant (will visit soon) and admire your hard work. Thank you for having a vision for Gilbert. We have 7 in our family and we love those other stores but rarely visit them for the reason Mark mentioned (and his statement was obviously not an attack on them). Those whiners can buy their cartons of Blue Bunny at sit at home by themselves but we’re looking forward to hanging with the fine folks of Gilbert while enjoying your ice cream! Keep up the good work!

  27. I support any independent small business owner in their fight for success in this world of mega-chains, and I wish you the best of success. Thank you for working to save us money.

  28. kenny says:

    Kudo’s for Mike, and his good luck to his success. I will be visiting soon.

  29. Rex Torgeson says:

    I love that this place opened. Between that, the pizza place and the movies, maybe there will be a place for kids my age (14) to hang out.

    My dad said this guy is gutsy because the landlord is greedy, so let’s all buy some ice cream and help him stay in business.

  30. Mike says:

    Rex, you and your friends are welcome to hang out anytime. We just worked it out that you can bring any of our menu items in to Gilbert Hollywood Theatres, and if you have your movie stub from there it is buy 1 get 1 free at Gilbert Ice Cream. We hope to see you soon.

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