New owners bring new touches, flavors to downtown ice cream spotBy Mary Ann Price
Tricia and Kevin Cummings were regular customers at Giovanni’s on Washington Street, along with their daughter, Emma. When Emma found out that owner Joey Federico was going to sell the business, she suggested that her parents buy it. And that’s what they did.
The Cummings opened Giovanni’s on October 1, keeping many things the same, such as the name and the Richardson’s brand of ice cream on the menu. They serve four sizes of ice cream and frozen yogurt and more than 30 toppings, including gummy bears, Nerds, walnuts, and whipped cream. They carry Richie’s Italian Ice in a dozen flavors and create milkshakes, frappes, root beer floats, and other beverages.
The Cummings continue to make ice cream cakes, mini ice cream cupcakes, and ice cream cannolis. They stock vanilla and chocolate ice cream cakes and can create custom orders with two days’ notice. “As long as we have it, I can make it,” Kevin said.
They also kept the television set on the wall and carry a number of gift items; however, they did change some things about Giovanni’s to make the shop their own. “We added some vibrant colors,” Tricia said, “blue, green and pink.”
Federico and his wife, Anna, were known for displaying photos of their customers on the walls of Giovanni’s. The Cummings took down the photos and tucked them away in albums for customers to look at while enjoying an ice cream treat.
Tricia then created a photo wall. She asks customers if their photo is on the wall. If not, she takes their photo, adds it to the wall, and then, with their consent, posts it to Giovanni’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
“People really love it,” she said. “They look for friends, family, to se who’s with who.” They can also pull out the photo albums to see how people have changed.
Giovanni’s now stocks a second brand of ice cream. Tricia found Mercer’s wine-flavored ice creams online. The New York-based business sells treats such as a Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Peach White Zinfandel, and Chocolate Cabernet.
“We are the first in the area to carry it,” Tricia said. “It’s a great hostess gift.”
She suggested serving the ice cream for dessert in a wine glass with a spoon. Since the product contains 5 percent alcohol by volume, the Cummings store it under lock and key and ask for identification from customers before selling it.
Both Kevin and Tricia have a background of several years’ experience in management and food service. Kevin has taken and taught courses in Serve Safe and keeps ice cream that contains nuts apart from other ice creams in order to prevent cross-contamination. “We want all kids to have a great experience,” Tricia said. “And adults, too,” Kevin added.
Business has been good since they opened. Students stop by after school, as do teams when they have finished a practice or game. “It’s a local ice cream shop,” Tricia said.
The couple changed the hours of business; the shop is now open from noon to 9 p.m. seven days a week. They recently received approval from the Board of Selectmen to offer warm items like coffee and soup and hope to add them to the menu in the winter.
The Cummings moved to Canton about 10 years ago, in part because of the nice community feeling in the town. Emma is now in third grade at the Luce School. They have given back to the community by donating to the fall festivals in the schools, last weekend’s James Moran fundraiser at the library, and the CantonStock music festival at Canton High School.
They enjoy owning their own business and working together. “I’m very strong with the physical aspect,” Kevin said. “She’s the face.”
“I really like getting to know the people and the community,” Tricia said.
And they love their product. Tricia’s favorite flavor is Green Monster (mint chocolate with Oreos and fudge) and Kevin’s is pistachio.
Giovanni’s is located at 598 Washington Street. For more information, call 781-828-2141 or go to giovannisicecream.com.
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