Dec 14, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Vince Giordano, owner of Sno Top in Manlius, was presented with the 2012 Forrest Mock Person of the Year Award on Nov. 10.
“That’s a big award,” Giordano said. “They only give one a year out, and there have been some years that they haven’t given any out.”
The award is sponsored by The National Dipper magazine, which Giordano describes as “the major ice cream restaurant magazine that’s out there.” It was presented to him by the magazine’s publisher, Lynda Utterback, at the annual National Ice Cream Retailers Association convention in Greenville, S.C.
“I consider this person a good friend,” she said in her remarks. “In fact, when I called his wife she said the best words to describe him were hard worker, loyal friend. And I would certainly agree with both of those.”
The award recognizes individuals for their contributions to NICRA and the ice cream industry as a whole. Forrest Mock, the 28th president of NICRA and the award’s namesake, was the first to receive it in 1983 having served on the board from 1963 to 1980.
Giordano has been on the NICRA Board of Directors since 2004 and served as president from 2009 to 2011.
This year’s convention saw about 25 prospective ice cream storeowners seeking to find out more about the industry, Giordano said. Curious entrepreneurs can attend the four-day event and learn about store layout, product options, how to sell those products, presentation, hiring and more.
“It’s the only place they can go and really get that information in one place,” he said.
Giordano has helped numerous young entrepreneurs get their start in the ice cream industry by attending the convention and offering his expertise for the past 20 years, starting in 1992. Giordano brings 52 years of industry experience to the table; he entered the industry at age 13 when he started working at an ice cream stand in Suburban Park. He and his wife, Kathy, purchased Sno Top in 1974 and they’ve managed it ever since.
“I’m not just an instructor that’s there at a seminar,” he said. Rather, he’s a mentor to new and aspiring business owners, and tells them: “this is how a store is run, this is how you take care of customers, these are the products you can sell.”
Giordano’s involvement with NICRA gives him a good perspective on the shape of the ice cream industry, and he has some good news to share.
“The industry is growing,” he said of the variety of new products entering the market. He noted that healthier, more tart yogurt, which was the norm 20 years ago, is making a comeback.
“We sell a lot of yogurt,” he said, referring to his store. “This past summer we brought in frozen Greek yogurt. It went very well.”
It’s no surprise to him that ice cream is doing well when the economy isn’t.
“When the economy is down, we’re still strong. We don’t lose [any business,]” he said. “If anything we pick up a little bit more.”
He thinks it’s because there’s always room in the budget for ice cream.
“They can’t do the other things,” he said. “They don’t go on vacation, they don’t do the trips. It’s pretty much stay home. We can take the family out and get ice cream or get a dessert, everybody’s happy. We’ve done that.
“And they do more of it.”
Ned Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.