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I'm Melting

Morrone's Italian Ices and Homemade Ice Cream franchise
- Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the August 2000 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

One taste of Morrone's Italian Ices and Homemade Ice Cream, and you'll be on a lip-smacking trip down memory lane. Think we're exaggerating? That was all it took for Doug and Ellen Burnhauser to end their long search for a part-time business that would also serve as an investment. With family recipes that date back to 1910, the Morrone's franchise chain has an Old World charm that's catching on nationwide with walk-up and walk-in stores alike.

The Burnhausers opened their Schuykill Haven, Pennsylvania, franchise in 1998 with an initial investment of about $150,000, culled from personal savings and a bank loan. Fortunately, they weren't met with an icy reception, and sales have doubled for each season they've been in operation. Though Ellen, 36, and Doug, 35, continue to work at their regular jobs, they personally serve that "wonderful product" (as Ellen describes it) at their popular walk-up store during the evenings of their open season (March to October).

Working with Morrone's has allowed the Burnhausers to carry out such family-oriented marketing efforts as sponsoring a softball team and participating in school fundraisers. Last season's car show was such a hit that this season, the show will be held on a monthly basis-which is just fine with Ellen, who enjoys interacting with the community more than anything else.

Philadelphia-based Morrone's recently introduced a third-party lender referral program, along with a new year-round, walk-in franchise model. As for Morrone's tasty recipes-those will remain the same. After all, why change a good thing?

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