This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Aaron Goodtree
Foggy Bottom’s favorite ice cream shop Cone E. Island will shut its doors March 31 after 27 years.
The owners decided recently not to renew the shop’s lease, longtime manager and co-owner Noel Esmilla said. He said sales had dropped in recent years, though he has noticed lately that “business is picking up.”
“Its about business decisions,” Esmilla said. “I’ve been trying to negotiate and talk [but the owners] don’t want to put money here and it hurts.”
Esmilla, who worked his way up to a co-owner after starting as a scooper when the shop first opened, said he has tried to convince the owners to change their minds.
The ice cream and frozen yogurt shop has been a staple on campus with strong ties to GW. Undergraduate students Mark Bautista and Steve Gruber opened the first Cone E. Island store in Georgetown. Four years later, they moved the shop to 2000 Pennsylvania Ave.
Open until midnight daily, the ice cream shop attracts a lively late-night crowd with its dimmed lights, dance music and disco balls.
Esmilla, who emigrated from The Philippines, said he started working at the shop “not speaking a word of English.” Now, he said that Cone E. Island is his “life,” and he even met his wife, who works at GW, while working there.
He remembered once when the first family came in for ice cream, with students trying to get past Secret Service to speak to Sasha and Malia.
Ideally, Esmilla would find a new location to set up shop again. “I can move around the block…This is my first choice. I want to be around in this area,” he said.
In the next few weeks, Cone E. Island must sell off everything it owns – including its stock of ice cream. Esmilla hinted that the shop may hold a sale as March 31 approaches.