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Fort Collins gelato business owner hopeful to reopen storefront by year's end after pivot to gondolas

paul pellegrino gelato fort collins
Posted at 5:38 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 19:38:50-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – More than a year after a fire burned his gelato and to-go Italian food shop, and with winter quickly on its way, Paul Pellegrino is hoping to have the store back up and running as soon as he can.

The storefront for Gelato & aMore on the west side of City Park in Fort Collins burned on July 26, 2020. It was not destroyed, but major repairs were needed along with new equipment.

After the fire, Pellegrino moved some of the remaining equipment and his employees to the kitchen in his garage at his home and relied on food deliveries and his catering business, Northern Colorado Catering, to stay afloat while repairs continued.

“We needed a place to operate from, at least to regain our gelato making and our takeaway foods,” he said. “Deciding to do the garage was one of our only options, but it has its limitations.”

The pandemic cut into the catering business, but food delivery soared. But the construction delays continued into the summer, and Pellegrino needed another way to continue to keep bringing money in.

So, he bought a few delivery bikes, which he calls gondolas, to bring his gelato to the customers across Fort Collins. Business was booming when Denver7 talked to him in July, when Pellegrino thought that maybe his storefront would be back open by the end of August.

“People have said that it’s authentic to their trips in Italy,” Pellegrino said of the gelato.

But August came and went, and while Pellegrino says he’s inspired that the construction process is still moving along, he acknowledges it’s been slow moving.

“Most recently, I was told more like September, October. But the process so far leads me to believe it’s going to be sometime before the end of the year,” he said.

With most of his gondoliers back in school and colder weather on its way, he says most of the gelato sales will likely come for now from fundraisers and private events as he pushes to get the storefront back open.

“I’ll make it, but there are incidentals that are popping up along the way that are always a new hurdle. … I’m gonna get there. I already got two feet in the puddle, so might as well walk through the rest of the puddle to dry land,” Pellegrino said.

He hopes to have the store back open for sales by the end of the year.

“Knowing who I am, and what I am, and what I need to do – to move forward in life – is to get this store running again.”