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First come, first served

— There are few things in life that are certain, but for Sno Top, the ice cream stand with a rich history in Manlius, one thing has been the same for 12 years now: Erin Griffin, a Fayetteville-Manlius sophomore, is always the first customer of the season.

Sno Top, owned and operated by Kathy and Vince Giordano, has been a Manlius landmark for 55 years, serving sugar-craving men, women and children from St. Patrick’s Day and on through the summer. As Kathy Giordano said, Sno Top, a multiple award-winning creamery, is one of the places teenagers can get seasonal work, which helps contribute to the local economy.

“We provide kids with jobs,” she said, adding that Sno Top employs, at peak season, 19 youngsters.

While locals know Sno Top, many do not know that Griffin prides herself on being the first customer each year. In fact, for the last four years, she’s also been the last customer before the stand closes for the season.

Griffin said the details of how it all started are a bit hazy because she was only 3 when it happened by accident.

“It’s hard to remember all the details,” says the well-spoken girl, who is a writer on the student-run F-M newspaper The Buzz. “We were driving back from a training on a Saturday morning when we passed by Sno Top and decided to stop.”

The rest is history, as it has become a tradition for Griffin and Giordano to see each other on Opening Day. In fact, as Giordano recalls, there have been times when she has had to tell others waiting in line that Griffin has to be the first customer.

While she admits she’s not a die-hard ice cream lover, Griffin said she gets a chocolate-vanilla twist cone, usually with green sprinkles in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Because of the mini heat wave a few weeks ago, Griffin said she was able to enjoy her cone in ideal conditions.

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