eMailMax 4/11/15 : Page 1

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

A Christmas vacation to Florida is turning into a life-changing new adventure for an entrepreneurial Sodus family ready to bring your family a memorable experience and some great treats, too. They’re creating the new Fire & Ice Pizzeria & Creamery in St. Joe. More on that in a moment, but back to the story. When Lori & Todd Costanza spent their family vacation down south over the holidays they discovered a magical ice cream place in Kissimmee called, appropriately, Abracadabra. At the Abracadbra Ice Cream Factory, they employ one of the hottest new trends in ice cream delivery in the nation...and soon the Costanza family will do that in South St. Joseph. At Abracadbra, they use liquid nitrogen to freeze your ice cream creation within seconds. Utilizing temperatures that reach 328-degrees below zero, the ice cream is flash frozen right before your eyes, sending up a misty fog as if by magic. The Costanzas were so enamored by the concept they went back a second time and found the place packed again. They literally couldn’t stop thinking about it and how cool (pun fully intended) it would be to have their own place. They immediately began researching the idea and searching for a family-friendly place for their new restaurant here in Michigan’s Great Southwest. Lori e-mailed the owner of Abracadabra seeking help in starting a place of her own here at home. The Costanzas actually went back to Florida for a week last month to work in his restaurant and learn the concept. Todd, Lori and their two teenaged daughters all trained in the concept and are ready to perform their ice cream magic for the rest of us. Recently the couple negotiated a deal with Mike Branch of The Rental Branch to buy his former decorative concrete showroom at 3848 Niles Road in St. Joseph for their new venture. Mike had consolidated his business closer to I-94 at 3536 Niles Road, and was ecstatic to find buyers who will be able to capitalize on the very colorful work he assembled in his former showroom. Meanwhile, the Costanzas were equally delighted to find a place that will be easily adaptable for their eclectic approach to the business. It’s already a very eye-popping place and will come alive with the new decor underway right now. Fire & Ice Pizzeria & Creamery will employ the liquid nitrogen flash freeze methodology for ice cream with lots of flavors and toppings, and they will employ the woodfire pizza methodology for great new pizzas they are currently working with a chef to design for their upcoming menu. There will be lots of family fun amid the pizzas and ice cream with an indoor sport court of either soccer or floor hockey, an indoor playhouse and sandbox, and other features being finalized but not solidified yet such as a ball pit or bounce houses and the like. The Costanzas two 17-year old daughters will be working there and potentially running the place eventually, and Todd & Lori will share administrative and management responsibilities while continuing to maintain their individual jobs on the local front. Lori owns and operates Private Duty Home Healthcare, also on Niles but closer to town, alongside The Neon Grill.<br /> <br /> Todd works for the family farm, Russell Costanza Farms of Sodus, which is a major provider of produce to Meijer, routinely shipping thousands of pounds of fresh produce to the supermarket giant. Fire & Ice will have about 14 round tables scattered throughout the large space as well as multiple picnic tables near the sport court and play house. Mike Branch’s concrete experts are putting the finishing touches on a separate party room that can be reserved for private events. Lori tells me that she wants Fire & Ice to be the place that has something for everybody including being a win-win for kids and adults alike. If everything moves along at the current pace, Lori is hopeful to have Fire & Ice open for business on Memorial Day weekend, but that’s a tight timeframe and could change. I’ll keep you posted going forward.<br /> <br /> Remember the gourmet taco truck we teased a couple of months ago and encouraged you to stay tuned for? Well, it has a name and it’s about to hit the streets. Scott Gane has dubbed his rolling kitchen the BajaGringo Taco Truck. As he says, “We might be gringos, but we speak the lingo: Tacos!” Scott told me recently that he passed his final inspection from the Berrien County Health Department and you can look for him to take a bow in the very near future, likely by about mid-April. He used Spring Break week to continue to experiment and firm up his menu items and he’s continuing to talk with folks who will provide regular stops for BajaGringo in the warmer weather ahead. He has already signed on to appear regularly on Friday afternoons beginning in June at the Harbor Market in downtown Benton Harbor. He has also crafted a deal to appear on occasion at Arclight Brewing in downtown Watervliet and says The Box Factory for the Arts is interested in perhaps a weekly stop there. Best of all for those who hope to become regulars of the BajaGringo Taco Truck, Scott has acquired a Geo-Tag app for his smartphone that will allow him to anchor virtually anywhere, push a button and dispatch an alert on Twitter and Facebook telling fans where he is at no matter where he stops off. BajaGringo Tacos will specialize in authentic gourmet tacos, naturally gluten-free tacos and other offerings with a fresh, west-coast flair utilizing as many fresh “farm-to-table” ingredients from the farmers and growers of Michigan’s Great Southwest as he can round up every day. There will be regular menu items on board and other specialties will rotate in and out of the line up as ingredients and popularity dictate. What will set BajaGringo Tacos apart from many others is the full on-board kitchen and licensing that allows Scott to create his culinary treats on site, customized to the request of the customer. Some competitors can only deliver already cooked foods, as they don’t have the ability or authorization to cook on board. For those who missed the original story on Moody on the Market.<br /> <br /> Scott and his wife Kim Jorgensen Gane were once proprietors of the Main Street Cafe in downtown Benton Harbor which was home to Scott’s famous Firehouse Chili, his snappy house-made Salsa Fresca, and his Mexican Scramble breakfast. Now the big question is: Where will the BajaGringo Taco Truck set up for Cinco de Mayo on May 5th? Stay tuned on Scott’s Facebook and Twitter sites to be informed at the push of a button. Here are his links: https://www. Facebook.Com BajaGringoTacos?fref=ts and BajaGringoTaco. If you have an event, outing, or some other affair that you’d like to schedule the BajaGringo Taco Truck for, you can contact Scott at 269-487-6023. <br /> <br /> Some 29 years ago, Toyota Motor Corporation created a special award reserved exclusively for the dealers in their line-up who truly excel in all facets of an automobile dealership operation. They call it the Toyota President’s Award. Only a handful of elite dealers ever make the grade. So...when a dealer cops the honor six times in nine years...that is not just cool...that’s decidedly noteworthy. That’s exactly what Signature Automotive Group has accomplished as they were formally recognized during a special luncheon recently. Signature Automotive Group General Manager Bill Crowder is riding tall in the saddle after his Signature Toyota crew were notified of yet another President’s Award coming their way. Especially since the award is recognized as a symbol of his team’s commitment and collective efforts in delivering first-class customer service experience to clientele every day. Signature Automotive Group at 680 E. Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor, is in truly rare company inasmuch as this year only seven Toyota dealers in the entire state of Michigan has earned the award. They thus become one of only 394 Toyota dealers nationwide to have the award bestowed upon them. As a result of the Toyota President’s Award...their sixth in the last nine years... Signature will receive national recognition in Automotive News, international recognition on Toyota’s website, and a distinctive award plaque for display in the dealership’s sterling showroom. They have proudly marketed the Toyota brand in the local marketplace for 26 years now since 1989. The growing dealership also markets the Hyundai, Scion and Mitsubishi brands in addition to the full Toyota automotive line up.<br /> <br /> A hearty group of supporters working together to combat the ravages of cancer are gearing up for yet another Pub Run in Michigan’s Great Southwest, and they’d love to have you along for the ride. Aimee Foster and Cheryl Williams are spearheading the concerted effort for this year’s 5th Annual “Bottoms Up for a Cure” Pub Run all to benefit the Berrien County Cancer Service. Aimee tells me that the event last year had 460 participants and raised more than $10,140 for Berrien County Cancer Service. She is a 12-year cancer survivor herself and Cheryl is the daughter of a cancer survivor, so clearly cancer is a cause near and dear to their hearts. They volunteer regularly at various events to help such causes for Berrien County Cancer Service and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They are calling their team the “Lucky Charms” as founded by their dear friend Denise Bohn Stewart who is, herself, a young mother and breast-cancer survivor. The 5th Annual Bottoms Up for a Cure Pub Run will take place on Saturday, April 25th beginning at 1pm at Babe’s Lounge on Riverview Drive in Benton Harbor. Stops along the Pub Run include the launch point of Babe’s, The Buck Burgers & Brew in downtown St. Joseph, 221 Main Restaurant & Cocktail House in St. Joseph, Rivers’ Edge Bar & Grill in Benton Harbor, and the Library Pub & Eatery in the Benton Harbor Arts District before returning to Babe’s. Your tax-deductible registration fee is $20 if completed in advance or $25 on the day of the event. Prize drawings and food will be hosted at Babe’s following the run. Registration forms can be found at each of the Pub Run stops or you can get one by e-mailing Aimee at or by calling her at 269-930-2580. Race t-shirts will be provided to those who register in advance, but may not be available for those who wait until the day of the event to sign up. Registration deadline for the t-shirts is April 17th. Sponsors of the event in addition of the pub stops are Edward Jones Investments, Pri-Mart & Pri-Mar Petroleum, Chemical Bank, Stonegate Park Dentistry & Dr. Tim Ward, LPL Financial, Atilla Real Estate Twisted Twin Custom Motorcycles, 98.3-The Coast, and Horizon Bank. Participants are invited to run, walk, crawl, or ride their bikes while enjoying food & drink specials, Jello shots, and prize drawings.<br /> <br /> A sure sign of spring each year is the announced arrival of the Mary Alice Hadley Pottery Sale at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in St. Joseph. For more than fifty years, the team at St. Paul’s at the corner of Morton Avenue and Lane Drive in St. Joseph has delivered the iconic ironstone type clay pottery to hundreds of families across the region making collectors of many owners from a broad array of options. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will host their semi-annual showing of the classic pottery from 9am until noon on Saturday, April 18th offering great opportunities for buyers seeking gifts for spring and summer occasions from Mother’s Day & Father’s Day to graduations, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and even teacher thank you gifts.The ironstone pottery is hand-painted, glazed and then fired at a very high temperatures to bring out the blue, green and brown colors that are instantly recognized as Hadley originals. The ironstone is very durable from dinnerware and accessories to decorative pieces and more. Best of all for gift-giving is any item can be personalized with a name and or a date for a unique gift. Mary Alice Hadley Pottery comes in up to twenty different patterns including the very popular Country and Nautical lines that draw huge interest in Michigan’s Great Southwest. The Nautical line includes Sailboat, Lighthouse, Beach, Anchor and Ship. The new children’s line of woodland friends has also been well received locally. The folks at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church have kept their prices at the 2006 rate despite increases by the company in 2010 and 2012. Proceeds from the pottery sales have funded various church and community projects for some 50-years now.Peggy McAllister is the administrator for the sale event each year and she says that an extra attraction this year is a group of gently-used Hadley dishes at greatly reduced prices. You can also arrange for other sale times by appointment if you are not able to make it on the 18th by contacting Peggy directly at 269-983-5337.<br /> <br /> That’s it for this week, kids. Have a great week, and we’ll see you Saturday here in MailMax and 24/7 online at<br /> <br /> Pat Moody<br /> Morning Radio Personality<br /> WSJM Radio<br /><br /> (269) 925-1111

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