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40 years and counting

Sno Top owners Vince and Kathy Giordano reflect on the past and look towards the future for the Manlius landmark

Vince Giordano has owned Sno Top for 40 years along with his wife, Kathy. During those 40 years, the ice cream shop has emerged as not just a landmark in Manlius, but a Central New York must-visit destination for people passing through.

Vince Giordano has owned Sno Top for 40 years along with his wife, Kathy. During those 40 years, the ice cream shop has emerged as not just a landmark in Manlius, but a Central New York must-visit destination for people passing through. Allie Wenner

— Giordano had been working at the ice cream stand for about ten years when Suburban Park closed after the 1973 season. At that time, Hildreth Vail decided he would retire and he offered to sell Sno Top to the Giordanos in 1974.

“The village really started to grow around that time,” Vince, who was born and raised in Manlius, along with Kathy, said. “Academy Hill and Cherry Manor [neighborhoods] were just coming into existence in the late 50s-early 60s, so we had a much bigger population.”

“Manlius has really grown tremendously because it’s a bedroom community of Syracuse, only about 12 miles from the city, and it has fabulous schools,” Kathy said. “It’s also very safe – we have one of the best police departments in the country, so people want to move here with their families.”

In fact, between 1960 and 1970, the population of the village of Manlius grew by 160 percent, according to Manlius Town Historian Barbara Rivette.

“The village of Manlius was the fastest-growing village in New York state around this time,” said Rivette. “And there was a point in life when development was considered very desirable. Nobody worried about farmland because there was plenty of that. And the developers were looked on as people who brought business to the area, and everyone thought that was a good idea.”

And Sno Top was in the right place at the right time at its location in the center of the village during the period of tremendous growth.

“Because Manlius blew up, Sno Top blew up,” said Kathy.

40 years later

For the Giordanos, the biggest changes within Sno Top have been a result of the different products and technology that have been released since they started in 1974. Kathy remembers the days when cashiers had to hold down the buttons on the cash register and calculate sums in their heads. And Vince recalls that in the 40 years they’ve been in business, Sno Top’s menu has grown from 50 items to more than 150.

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