A State Street ice cream stand gets a new start when it opens Monday morning.
The grand opening for Gabe and Ashley Viscariello’s Stella’s Creamery & Cakes is planned for 10:30 a.m.
The business is named for the couple’s two-year-old daughter.
Ashley Viscariello said she and her sisters worked at Bumpy’s Polar Freeze, the former business, during high school and college.
“I always had this inkling that I would own this place because I loved working here so much,” said Ashley Viscariello, 28.
“When I got the opportunity to buy it I just went for it.”
Ashley Viscariello worked under two previous owners, including Dave Elmendorf.
Earlier this month, state Attorney General Letitia James sued Elmendorf, alleging he used racist intimidation tactics against peaceful protesters last summer.
James said Elmendorf called the police and falsely claimed protesters were “brandishing weapons as he used their race and color as reasoning for the call.”
But it was Elmendorf, officials said, who had brandished several weapons and made death threats in an effort to stop the legal protest, while using a number of offensive, racial epithets when referring to Black protesters, James alleged.
The lawsuit came after Elmendorf was accused of saying in text messages that he doesn’t hire Black people, which brought protesters to the establishment on several occasions last summer, urging a boycott.
Elmendorf was arrested and charged then with pointing a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun at demonstrators, officials said. In October, he was arrested on a felony charge after being accused of assaulting a process server outside his home.
To the challenge of distancing her new business from the prior owner, Ashley Viscariello said she’s Guyanese and would not stand for any of what went on last year.
“I wanted to buy this place because I’ve always wanted to own an ice cream shop,” she said. “But the other part of it is also wanting to regain that respect for our community, because we felt like they were let down. So really just trying to build back what was once here before he owned it.”
Stella’s will open with 12 employees.
“I’ve made sure that my team is diverse,” Ashley Viscariello said. “That’s always what I think every company should strive for.”
Prior to the venture, Ashley worked as the human resource generalist for Mohawk Ambulance.
In addition to enhancing the level of customer service, and treating customers with respect, Ashley Viscariello said the business’ menu stands to set it apart.
Ashley Viscariello said it is the only place in the area selling premium custard ice cream.
She also said they take pride in their specialty sundaes. Patrons can order a sundae based in a churro, a “brownie delight,” and Fruity Pebbles cereal, among other options.
They will also offer ice cream cakes, regular cakes, and a combination of both, she said.
“Honestly there’s just nothing like that around here,” Viscariello said.