With summer in full swing, the line for Gina’s Italian Ice can stretch down the block. That line’s about to get a lot longer as the Berwyn-based institution, 6737 W. Roosevelt Rd., is hitting the market. After 46 years in the business Gina Tremonte is hanging up her scoop.
She and her son Pat have listed the business and building for sale with Andy Sokol for $850,000.
Sokol says that price includes the building on Roosevelt Road as well as the business licenses. He adds, “Within reason, Pat would stay on to show folks how the business is run.”
In real estate, all things are negotiable, and Sokol admits that the highest bidder might not want to keep the business going but he thinks there’s a lot of value to be had in the Gina’s Ice name.
“There’s big potential from the business side. She’s only open for five months a year, and she makes a lot of money,” he says. “You can imagine someone keeping it as is, but you could also see someone taking it year-round, putting in more locations and franchising it.”
Sokol thinks it’s not out of line to imagine Gina’s Ice being sold in grocery stores, at Wrigley Field or in outposts in other suburbs.
Beyond the great Italian ice that has had people from the western suburbs flocking to the small storefront since 1977, Sokol says the business comes with a great personal story.
Realizing the neighborhood was missing a place for cool treats, Tremonte founded the business on Roosevelt Road after purchasing the building for $9,000. Using an old Italian recipe, she originally sold her lemon ices for 15 cents.
“They didn’t have two nickels to rub together when they started,” Sokol says of the family.
Sokol, who played little league baseball with Pat as a child, recalls Pat’s late father passing out ice after games and says, “It was exciting like he was Santa Claus, and I’m Jewish.”
He’s listing the property with mixed emotions and says he’s honored that the family trusted him with the sale but also sad the family is saying goodbye to the business.
There’s also a bit of pressure to get them a good sale. He says, “I’d love to make a bazillion dollars for her. She’s worked so hard, walking miles back and forth in that shop. She’s an icon.”
As the listing for the business goes live, Sokol says he expects his south Oak Park friends to flip out. Nothing is for sure, but he states the business will remain open pending a sale. He’s hopeful that a buyer will see a value in keeping Gina’s Ice alive.