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Ice cream shop opens in Coolidge

COOLIDGE -- A California dream has started to become real for a businessman and his family, but they had to come to Arizona to live it.

Emilio and Sandra Gonzalez and their three grown children are now serving ice cream, popsicles and other treats at Sabor a La Michoacana in downtown Coolidge.

Driving around the Riverside, California, area for several years the couple would often treat their children to ice cream but also hungered for a place where they would be the ones selling and serving the delectables instead of buying them. Now they have it at 220 S. Main St.

The Gonzalezes, including Alejandro, Annabelle and Christoper, are in their second week of operation, and ice cream sales could not be hotter thanks to word of mouth, Emilio said.

“When we did our soft grand opening we thought we were going to go a little slow, and it didn’t happen (that way) because people came in and started tasting the corn ice cream, other ice creams, they started texting each other and Facebooking and before you know it there was a line out the door,” Emilio said Friday.

“Everyone has pitched in. When we first started everybody was all excited because it was just a long process. ‘When are we going to do it?’ Now that things got a lot better and the permits got through, the machines came, they began to get that excitement again. We didn’t think it was going to do, but one of the big hits was the corn ice cream and everything is taking off.”

The shop takes its name from sabor (flavor), the state of Michoacan in Mexico, neveria (ice cream) and paleteria (popsicle) and is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. The hours might expand if business maintains a brisk pace, he said. In addition to the ice cream, the shop sells Mexican snack foods such as dorilocos and tostilocos and corn on the cob. Raspados could be added in the future, Gonzalez said.

“We make our own product here. The raspados is something we decided not to carry for right now but perhaps in the future. Once we logistically set up everything there’s a possibility that we may out some raspados out. I don’t know about tacos because that’s a lot of cooking and a lot of things. We would need a bigger place for that.”

Gonzalez said he has several years in management for a national retail corporation but has always desired to start a family-run, mom-and-pop business that would involve his children.

“I never had the opportunity to bring my kids in and teach them, develop them to operate their own business because it would be considered a conflict of interest,” he said. “When Emilie and Christopher graduated high school it was the perfect time to relocate to Arizona — most of my life I spent in California — so it’s been long before we came to Arizona. We’ve been in Arizona slightly over a year and that’s how long that’s been going on. It’s been about a year and a half. So that’s something that we wanted to do, plus the whole thing of the michoacanas is mainly a family-owned business and besides that everybody has a sweet tooth.”

Gonzalez also is planning to cater to those customers who have too much of a sweet tooth and need to limit their sugar consumption.

“We have a unit that we haven’t got it going just yet, but once we get that unit, we’re going to be taking a cup of fruit with a cup of frozen yogurt. We’ll mix it, and we’ll blend it and it’s going to help the sugar-free environment. If you have diabetes, that might be something you’ll be able to partake in versus the cream and the sugar. And also we have the fresh fruit cups that will benefit somebody who’s sugar-free,” Gonzalez said.