Ice cream store to close

Loral Ann Jorza is going down with her ship, Island Ice Cream & Coffee – not for lack of trying.

Monday is the last day Jorza will greet customers with a cheery “Hi, Honey” or “What can I get you, Sweetheart?” The business owes two months’ back rent, she says, and is out of options.

“It’s been one of the longer years of my life and I don’t want to have one like it again,” Jorza said. “I had no idea the winter was going to be so bad.”

Her landlords, she added, have “carried me before and don’t want to carry me any more. The folks who own the building must be more worried about money than I am.”

Jorza has owned the shop at the corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305 for three years.

This past November and December were the worst she has had, business wise. Her personal life has not fared any better because of deaths in her family.

The building that houses Island Ice Cream underwent an extensive renovation last year. During the seven months of construction, Jorza saw a major drop in business. Limited parking and smaller signage contributed to the dearth of customers, she said, and she has faced two rent increases in the last year.

“The new signs look nice, but are small. I’ve heard people ask, ‘Is there an ice cream store around?’” Jorza said. “I stayed open as best as I could and it never picked up.”

Local attorney Bruce Weiland, one of the building’s owners, said he was disappointed to see the business fold.

“We have worked with Loral Ann for two years and are really sorry to see her fail,” Weiland said. “The only way to save this landmark and rejuvenate Winslow Way is by generating a little bit more income. It’s a complex story.”

After the former owner hauls away the counters, freezer and display case for a Tacoma store, Jorza will look for work.

A letter about closing she posted on the ice cream counter elicits sorrow – and customers want to know what she’s going to do next. “We’ll miss you,” one islander said. “This is always our favorite place.”

Although the closing of her store greatly saddens Jorza, she remains convinced “there’ll be something” for her to do.

“I’m a smart gal,” she said. “I’m keeping a portable espresso machine, and would love to bring it to people’s parties, school fairs and other places.”

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