SAUGERTIES, New York – Sawyer Motors dealership owners Bob and Larry Siracano will reveal something that isn’t a high-tech electric car, a durable SUV, or even a high-performance sports car. It is ice cream.
Bob Syracusano, who runs Sawyer Motors, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep in Sugertis, and Larry Syracusano, who runs Sawyer Chevy in Catskill, said Sawyer Ice Cream Company, located across from Ulster Street directly from Sawyer Motors, will open this summer, perhaps. By late July or August.
Bob Siracciano said supply chain issues continue to push back the opening date of the ice cream shop, which features a vehicle design reminiscent of the 1950s. He said conditioning work still had to be done before the shop opened.
The brothers originally hoped the store would be open on Memorial Day weekend, then were pushing to open in time for the Sawyer Auto Show on Sunday, July 10.
The show will extend to the main streets and the division streets. It will feature hundreds of classic cars and seven live bands from 1-6pm that day.
Bob Siracano said that when the family was looking to replace an old car washer that was no longer commercially viable on-site, they decided an ice cream stand would be a perfect fit.
“We’ve been thinking about this for six to seven years,” he said.
He added that the family knew from the start what they wanted to do: an old-fashioned ice cream stand with large windows. The two brothers pointed to the stainless steel sides of the building. It was a siding reminiscent of the old-fashioned or the funiculars of the 1950s. Larry Siracano said the stand will hold one or two old children’s toys and vintage automatic cars.
The family’s love for all things antique is shown inside Sawyer Motors in Suggerties, just a short walk from the new ice cream stand. The showroom is filled with vintage items, including vintage bikes and motorbikes, signs, and even a bumper car and Good Humor ice cream bike.
Larry Siracano said the second floor space would strictly serve as a storage area.
Once the store opens, it will come fully loaded with several options, including soft and hard ice cream, malt and milkshakes, sundaes, and ice cream cake. Larry Siracano said they expect to offer between 18 and 20 flavors.
Bob Siracano said that unlike some ice cream stands, they will strictly serve ice cream, and avoid other foods like hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries. “We want to make it simple,” he said.
He said they also plan to up the nostalgia factor with hot rod cruises on select evenings.
The family is no stranger to the ice cream business. The long-running Jolly Cow Drive-In has owned US Route 9W in Ulster for several years.
While the family eventually sold Jolly Cow, Bob Siracusano later bought a 1967 Good Humor Ice Cream truck. He said as soon as he learned he wanted a vintage ice cream truck, he searched online and eventually found a man in Chicago who had a fully restored truck and was looking to give it up. He ended up buying it.
Now Bob Siracciano visits schools and community events dressed in a vintage Good Humor ice cream jumpsuit, serving ice cream to students at schools in Saugerties. He is also known to have appeared in the Saugerties Stallions baseball games at Canteen Field. It is estimated that he gave $5,000 worth of ice cream from the truck.
This year’s Auto Show posters all over Saugerties feature the ice cream truck prominently.
Turning to the auto show, he said more than 400 cars were pre-registered as of July 1. “We usually get 500 to 700 cars,” he said.
All funds raised from classic car owners who register their cars are directed to charities in the area. He said last year’s bid raised $67,000, which was distributed to nonprofits, families and needs.
Looking at the auto show last year, Bob Siracciano admitted he wasn’t sure how well it would run after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sponsors came back, he said, and many car owners ended up paying $100 instead of the $25 registration fee.
When the day of the show came, fans exceeded the brothers’ expectations. “The street was the busiest ever,” said Bob Siracano.
Eventually, it rained heavily in the afternoon, but people stayed nearby, taking refuge in businesses in the area.
He said he wanted the show to benefit businesses along Main Street and Division streets and not even intentionally bring in outside food vendors. Instead, he added, visitors are encouraged to visit local restaurants and shops.
“A lot of restaurants have their best days of the year,” he said.
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