Ciao Bella Gelato Company

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A Ciao Bella Gelato store

Ciao Bella Gelato Company is a company specializing in gelatos and sorbets. It was begun in 1983 in a kitchen in New York City's Little Italy.[1] Traditional recipes from Torino were used. Ciao Bella, as it is more commonly called, was formerly owned by Charlie Apt and F.W. Pearce.


Ciao Bella began as an idea in the summer of 1983 when cousins Jon F. Snyder and Laura Grady were on a summer holiday in Italy. They both were fascinated with the uniqueness of Italian ice creams, having grown up working in their grandparents' Carvel ice cream store in Peekskill, NY. Jon, only 19 at the time, in particular, became obsessed with the idea of bringing a version of gelato to New York City. He eventually quit school, raised $25,000 from family and friends and, with Laura and her sister Christine's help, opened a small shop at 451 broome street in the SoHo area of manhattan, in May 1984. Their focus was on building up a wholesale business as they canvassed NY restaurants with samples, trying to build a sustainable year-round enterprise. In five years, they built a substantial clientele of chefs which included Charlie Palmer of the River Cafe, the "21" Club, the Russian Tea Room, NY's Famous Balducci's market, and dozens of other eclectic NY eateries. Having grown the business to a sustainable level, Jon felt it time to move on and put an ad to sell the company in the NY Times in 1989. Pearce saw the ad. Believing it to be a brilliant idea to buy it, he borrowed $90,000 from his mother- enough to buy the store, a batch freezer, a pick up truck, and the recipes for 60 flavors.[2] In the beginning, everything, from mixing flavors to delivering the product, was done by Pearce and a few part-time employees.[2] By 1993, he managed to bring sales up to $1 million. In the same year, he was introduced to a banker, Charlie Apt, who was the partner he was looking for to expand to a larger market. Thanks to his knack for sales, which included cold-calling countless restaurants and adding colors and logos to the then-white pints, product sales doubled to $2 million within another year.[2] In addition, Jon Snyder, later in 2001, after years out of the ice cream business, opened 'il laboratorio del gelato' on NYC's lower east side, rededicated to servicing NYC restaurants in particular.

By 2005, Ciao Bella was a $10 million company of 75 employees. That year, they added five stores, including one in Berkeley, to three existing ones in New York and San Francisco.[3]

In 2008, Ciao Bella received a cash infusion of $10-20 million from Encore Consumer Capital and Sherbrooke Capital Management, allowing Sherbrooke to own half of the company[4]

In 2010, it increased production capacity by moving gelato production to Eugene, Oregon.[5] In 2013, it celebrated 30 years with a free gelato party in New York. Ciao Bella Gelato currently produces in Ludington, Michigan, focused on grocery store sizing and flavors in a 16oz pint.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Ciao Bella has won multiple awards, many from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). Zagat has also named Ciao Bella as the "Best Ice Cream in New York" in 2002.[6]

List of Flavors[edit]

  • Baileys Sea Salt Caramel Gelato
  • Baileys Irish Cream Gelato
  • Chocolate Mascarpone Gelato
  • Chocolate Gelato
  • Caffe Macchiato Gelato
  • Madagascar Vanilla Gelato
  • Pistachio Gelato
  • Strawberry Chocolate Chip Gelato

  • Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto
  • Blood Orange Sorbetto
  • Blueberry Passionfruit Sorbetto
  • Chocolate Sorbetto
  • Coconut Sorbetto
  • Limone Sorbetto
  • Mango Sorbetto
  • Raspberry Sorbetto
  • Strawberry Limonata Sorbetto
  • White Peach Sangria Sorbetto


External links[edit]