Sweet Dreams Eastside
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
Ice cream lovers in east Gainesville who have dreamed of having a full-service ice cream shop near them don't have to dream anymore — Sweet Dreams Eastside is now open.
Sweet Dreams Eastside at 1040 E. University Ave., which is owned and operated by Mike Manfredi, also the owner of Sweet Dreams Homemade Ice Cream of Gainesville at 3437 W. University Ave., opened last Friday. Hours will be from 3-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Manfredi said the store will offer 24 flavors of ice cream, but only four — chocolate, vanilla, coffee and mint — will be available daily.
"The other flavors change daily," Manfredi said.
Manfredi said Sweet Dreams Eastside will offer the same quality products as his store on W. University Avenue, including cones, malts, milk shakes, root beer floats, sundaes, waffle cones and more. Customers also will be able to buy ice cream by the pint, quart, half-gallon and gallon and customers will be able to choose from a variety of toppings, such as almonds, chocolate chips, hot fudge, oreos, peanut butter, pecans and peanuts.
Manfredi, who learned how to make ice cream while working in a small shop more than 20 years ago on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers, makes the ice cream for the two stores and also the ice cream sold on the University of Florida campus at the Fresh Food Company in the Broward Hall area and Gator Corner behind the O'Connell Center.
Sue Debose of southeast Gainesville stopped by Sweet Dreams Eastside Monday night with her 9-year-old son, Omar Johnson. She bought a pint of maple walnut ice cream and allowed Omar to indulge in a cup of cookies and cream ice cream before dinner.
Debose said she is thrilled Sweet Dreams Eastside is open, and she hopes it prospers. "I'm hoping it holds up," Debose said. "We need more businesses on this side of town. I'll support it when I can and I hope the community does the same."
Manfredi also is banking on the community supporting the business because he said it is businesses like Sweet Dreams Eastside that adds to the quality of life in a community. He said communities need to have diverse businesses to give people options without having to go far from home.
Manfredi said no structural renovations had to be made to the building, but he did build eight wooden booths, five of them with tables shaped like cones and decorated in different colors.
The walls are painted blue with different size white stars, creating a "dreamy-like" ambiance.
The lobby also includes Sweet Dreams Half Pint, a children's area complete with wooden chairs and tables for the little ones and wooden facsimiles of things found in a full-service ice cream shop, such as an ice cream maker, freezer, display unit and cash register.
Manfredi said he will use three interns a semester from the Reichert House Youth Academy, which he almost partnered with two years ago to run the shop until a problem with the contract arose.
"We hope the intern program will feed future employment for the kids, either here or elsewhere," Manfredi said. "The whole idea is to sort of get their feet wet and to teach them about what is expected of them when they have a job and a boss and somebody they have to answer to."
John Alexander, executive director of the Reichert House, said the students who will be working at Sweet Dreams Eastside have been through the business academy at the Reichert House, an after-school program for school-age boys. He said the students are going to benefit from the internship program primarily because of two things.
"Mr. Manfredi is going to teach them about more than just ice cream," said Alexander, adding that the Reichert House is very excited about the program.
"He is going to teach them about running a business and he is going to share his knowledge of the business world with them," he said. "Also, they are going to be earning money to put in their pockets."
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