ROCKLAND— Rockland’s North End just took one more step in recreating Boston’s North End and its “Little Italy” with the addition of Gelato Rose (483 Main Street) on July 20 for its Grand Opening.
The artisan gelato shop run by mother-and-daughter Annie Higbee and Cecile Bizet made its initial debut last summer on 497 Main Street, before shutting down at the end of the season. The reopening of the shop specializing in Italian treats compliments FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars a couple of doors down and Ferryside Lunch, which specializes in Italian paninis.
Taking over FIORE’s former bottling and shipping space, Higbee and Bizet had about a month to renovate the long, narrow floors space into an airy, comfortable lounge with a gigantic rustic table dominating the room.
“We learned a lot running the first store, and now we know what the business is like,” said Higbee. “We were lucky this storefront opened up; but, everyone supported us. We had help from the community making our business plan. We had help with a loan from the bank. We had great help from the contractors.”
“I’m really excited for the new space,” said Bizet, 17, who will primarily run the shop. “We just introduced Rock City coffee and tea and we will be doing live music and open mic nights on Thursdays. This place is for everyone, of course, but I really want it to be comfortable for young people, especially during music nights, which hasn’t really been fostered enough in the community. I’m really passionate about getting the community to come together and gelato was really just a way to make it happen. We just wanted to create an epic place for people to hang out.”
The gelato shop itself is much the same from their last spot. Bizet was instrumental in helping her mother create 12 gelato flavors and markets them on her Instagram account. Some of their flavors, like the strawberry rhubarb, comes from a couple who jars rhubarb from Whitefield. Other flavors such as blueberry sorbetto, Maine maple and lemon basil are all from Maine, as well.
In the coming weeks, they’ll also introduce espresso and cold brew. They are also open to more art-and music-related events in the future.
“This is a place for self-expression,” said Bizet. “There may be a reason we have blank white walls,” she hinted.
On their opening night, Rockland Main Street representatives were on hand for a ribbon-cutting event, along with live music by The Midnight Riders and Bizet’s friends, the band, Happy Folk.
For more information about Gelato Rose, visit their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org