Mora Iced Creamery remodels for planned franchise branding

Ana Orselli stands at the counter of Mora during its remodel. The ice cream shop is now up and running after its makeover. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Ana Orselli stands at the counter of Mora during its remodel. The ice cream shop is now up and running after its makeover.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

The taste of success is said to be sweet. One Bainbridge Island company knows this all too well.

Mora Iced Creamery has had a busy year. One year ago the company began work on expanding their brand and creating a program to franchise their ice cream stores.

“Mora is in a very exciting stage of expansion right now,” said Ana Orselli, who founded and co-owns Mora with her husband Jerry Perez.

The small and local ice cream company currently has three locations: Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Kingston. But additional stores are on the horizon.

“The idea is to work with experienced multi-unit franchise owners who already know the path of bringing a new product into a market,” Orselli said.

The company is currently in the franchise licensing process and hopes to begin expanding this summer.

“Since we opened our first store, we have received tons of inquiries about franchising from people all over the country,” Perez said. “This encouraged us to develop our franchising program.”

To kick off the venture, Bainbridge Island’s location on Madrone Lane has been remodeled to set the standard for the company’s brand. Bainbridge Island will be the company’s flagship store.

“We felt it was vitally important for Mora to update and improve our signature look and feel — a sophisticated and inviting store atmosphere,” Orselli said.

“After all, part of the magic of Mora is the experience.”

The signature look includes custom made wallpaper and menu boards that will be a part of every new store the company establishes.

The husband and wife team didn’t want to stray too far from the vibe they’ve already successfully created with Mora, rather, they decided to just give it a makeover.

“We wanted to give Mora a facelift but without making it unrecognizable,” Orselli said. “You know, like when they use too much Botox and you wonder who is behind those lips!”

Despite the facelift, there will be no wondering what is behind Mora’s ice cream — the same great taste they have been crafting, and customers have been enjoying, for eight years.

Mora began when Orselli and Perez traveled to the United States on vacation from Buenos Aires, Argentina, before moving to Bainbridge Island.

“One of the things we realized was that the overall ice cream experience could be improved,” Orselli said. “Ice cream should be more of a social and cultural experience than just a frozen dessert.”

To create this experience, Orselli fashioned Mora’s ice cream around a home-made ethos.

“We produce all our ice creams from scratch with the freshest ingredients available,” Orselli said.

Whole milk, fresh cream, pure cane sugar and chocolate from Belgium are among the basics of Mora’s recipes.

“We hand squeeze fresh lemons, limes and grapefruits for our sorbets and let each ingredient do what it was intended for them to do,” Orselli said. “The process is as important as the product. And what is not in our product is just as important as what is in our product.”

Butter fat is one such thing consumers might find much less of in their products; Mora’s ice creams have less than most premium ice creams, Orselli said.

Their process is also going to get a bit of a makeover. New machines for the company’s factory on Miller Road are under construction in Italy.

“Those machines will allow us to increase the volume of production without compromising the artisanal quality of our ice cream,” Orselli said.

The new equipment is scheduled to be installed in late summer.

The website also got a recent boost. Now customers can order the ice cream online and have it shipped anywhere in the lower 48 states.

While the company may be expanding, they maintain the vision that has carried them this far.

“The way we like to refer to Mora is that it is a ‘company of people’ that sells ice cream,” Orselli said. “We value and care for our employees and we feel cared and valued by them.”

“I don’t know how, but we have the best employees in the world,” she added. “We work hard but always with a happy attitude in making the other person’s day a bit better.”

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