Fort Collins gelato store delivering through gondolas after suffering fire in building

You might just spot a gondolier in City Park
City Park Gelato
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 20:39:27-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A Fort Collins gelato business owner hasn't let a fire at his store stop him from doing what he loves by coming up with a unique way to deliver his sweet treats.

Some may never realize the work that goes into making one small cup of creamy Italian gelato, but for owner of City Park Gelato & Amore, Paul Pellegrino, it’s all he’s ever known.

"I’m a third generation food service worker," Pellegrino said. "Some people have it as a job, some have it as a career, for me, it is a way of life,"

It’s his way of life that keeps pushing him forward, like when he built a new machine to make gelato out of his garage after his business caught fire last year and lost everything.

"All the equipment, perishables, all the gelato supplies that came from Italy, so basically lost stock and barrel," Pellegrino said.

Then construction delays made reopening seem like a distant dream.

"We were supposed to be open in November and December, so we had that plan. And then they said April, and then they said July, and now, it is looking like the end of August," Pellegrino said.

So, he rolled out a new plan. One that would deliver his gelato across town for free.

Some will call it a tricycle, but Pellegrino calls it a gondola.

"Our gondolier uniform is to help portray the theme of Italian and the gondola navigator," Pellegrino said.

They're easy to spot, especially as they roll through City Park.

"People think it is awesome. They’re always smiling and waving and honking their horns and they’ll ask me about it and about my outfit," said Rebekah Tonnessen, a geltao gondolier.

As creative as the outfits may be and as refreshing as the gelato tastes under the summer heat, these four gondolas keep Pellegrino’s business afloat and his dream alive.

"Growing up, I remember the bells ringing and the truck coming and hearing it from blocks away," Pellegrino said. "That is the image, the sensation I want people to feel in Fort Collins."