The co-founder of the Brunswick-based Gelato Fiasco announced in a letter posted online today that he plans to open a branch at 425 Fore St. in Portland in early December.
Here’s the letter:
Bruno and I opened The Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick in 2007 after a long search for the perfect place in our home state to open a gelateria. Brunswick was close to our small hometowns and we liked its historic Maine Street and the cool shops and restaurants. And, to us, Brunswick was a big city! After all, Rome, Maine, only has 980 residents.
Well, from nearly the moment we opened on August 7, 2007, we’ve been asked regularly, “Why don’t you have a shop in Portland?” “When can we get a Gelato Fiasco closer to us in Portland?” “Don’t you know Portland would be awesome for you guys?” Customers over the years have gone so far as to send us real estate listings for a places they think would be perfect. I will be forever humbled by those gestures.
For four years, we resisted the temptation to open a second store. First, we didn’t want to risk the quality of the Brunswick store by expanding too quickly before we had the people and practices in place to keep it at 100 percent. Second, we wanted to make sure that our second location had the geographic and architectural potential for perfection — a place that could provide the same sense of fun and discovery that so many people have found at our store in Brunswick. Finally, we wanted to make sure that our staff, Bruno, and I were emotionally ready to take the leap.
In early December, we will open our second store at 425 Fore Street in Portland’s Old Port. The location is in the heart of Portland, just steps away from impressive restaurants and vibrant business and arts communities. The store space is being designed to both reflect the atmosphere of the Brunswick store and apply some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years. The store contains a full kitchen, and the team will make its own gelato, just like in Brunswick.
This news doesn’t change our commitment to the greater Brunswick community. Our store in Brunswick will remain the Flagship Store and will still be home of our company headquarters. The things you’ve come to know and trust — real gelato made in small batches in-house, a constantly changing array of flavors, late hours, and familiar faces behind the counter — will still be there, and, we hope, better than ever.
We will continue to update you on the progress of the Portland store, which we codenamed “Crimson Orbit” until today. It’s nice to be able to finally share the news! We know that many of our customers care deeply about how our business operates and its impact on the community, so we’ve prepared a question-and-answer section on our website.
The Gelato Fiasco story has been an improbable one — two young guys growing a gelato business in the middle of a recession and making hundreds of thousands of servings of small-batch, artisanal gelato over four years. We visited more than two dozen banks for our first business loan, and the final bank said “yes” but needed an Small Business Administration guarantee to back it up. Our success has been entirely due to the loyalty of members of our community, the commitment of our employees, and a dose of good luck.
I want to personally thank you for your business, praise, and gentle criticism over these years. Your support has meant the world to me, and I hope that we will continue to earn it in the days and weeks ahead.
The Gelato Fiasco