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It all started in 1974. I was 24 and recently married to my grade school sweetheart. It was a slow time for construction work, so I was laid off. I then came upon an opportunity to buy some water ice equipment. It consisted of a water ice machine, flavoring, sugar, cups, and some miscellaneous supplies all for $200.

Around the same time, I stumbled upon an old family Italian ice recipe. So I set up shop in the garage and got to work. I experimented over and over again, until I got the taste and consistency just right! So I did what any logical person would do, I
purchased a big old box truck from a buddy of mine, cut a window on the side, and started making and selling water ice up and down the streets of Tacony and Holmesburg in Northeast Philly. This is where Jerry’s Italian Water Ice was born.

I was only selling two flavors at the time and they were lemon and cherry. Boy, were they a hit! After a couple of years of selling water ice on the truck, I felt that it was time to bring the operation inside, so I began to look for a permanent location. I was able to negotiate a good lease for a ground floor unit in the neighborhood at the corner of Wellington and Glenloch Streets. In 1976, my cousin Louie and I partnered up and named the store Volpe’s Water Ice. We ran this family business together for a few years. My cousin started selling in Wildwood NJ, and I started selling out of a new store called Harrowgate Sweet Shop. We were doing really well!!!

Unfortunately, after just a short time, the store was the victim of a fire, and we lost everything! We were devastated. It was then that my cousin Louie asked me to partner with him at 6319 Frankford Ave. at a new water ice shop he re-opened, still named Volpe’s Water Ice! We were at it again and we were doing even better than before. We also supplied all the local pools in the area. My two boys worked the store, along with other family members and neighborhood help. We had that store until 1997. We had many good years and wonderful memories there. We always shared our memories from that time in my life. After I retired, I still had the passion to make water ice. I would often make water ice for my grandchildren with a small machine. It was always a hit at all our family parties.

Recently, an opportunity presented itself, one that I could not refuse. It was the perfect location for a water ice store, in Bensalem on Bristol Pike (not too far from my hometown). The old Warner’s Candy Store. It wasn’t until now, in 2021, that Volpe’s Italian Ice was reborn! And currently operating under the nostalgic name...... Volpe’s Original. After a long negotiation with the owner, we were able to renovate as we wished and make my dreams come true ...Volpe’s Original, Italian Ice and Ice Cream! It was like I never skipped a beat. Making water ice has always been my passion and brought me joy. We are blessed to have this opportunity again.

Our grand opening was a huge success, reuniting with so many familiar faces from long ago. Our employees are committed and I’m happy to have all four of my grandchildren on the team. Thank you to all of the customers who have stopped by already!


When asked, which is my favorite, I have to say that my lemon is the best! It is like no other!

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