Last call for gourmet ice cream at Gabriella's.
After a 12-year run on Main Street in Chatham, the ice cream shop is set to close at the end of the month.
Gabriella's Homemade Ice Cream, Yogurt & Cakes employed many Chatham High School students since it opened in May 2001. Some former employees are now doctors, lawyers and engineers, manager Mike Lloyd said.
Banners from the colleges they attended and a news clipping about one employee's accomplishments as a teacher hang on a wall.
Lloyd, a New Vernon resident, said higher expenses—including taxes, rent and insurance—combined with less foot traffic and the recession were among the factors that led to the decision to close. He said Main Street USA generally still is hurting from the recession, and Internet sales have affected how often people shop downtown.
He is considering staying in the ice cream business with an ice cream truck.
Gabriella's was a place people stopped for dessert after lunch or dinner downtown. The shop serves high-end ice cream from a supplier who is "very particular about quality," Lloyd said.
"We don't have a bad flavor," he said.When one 10-year-old customer learned over the summer the shop was expecting to close, she asked if there was some way she could help keep it open, such as by making a sign, he said.
"The ice cream's great," resident Gail Stephens said one afternoon last week after trying pumpkin ice cream. "It's really hard to choose."
She lives nearby and enjoyed coming to the shop. She told Lloyd she would be back again before it closes.