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George’s Ice Cream & Sweets Closing This Month After 13 Years In Andersonville: ‘It Is Time For Us To Retire’

George's Ice Cream & Sweets will close March 31. It was owned by the family of a legendary Andersonville businessman.

George's Ice Cream & Sweets will close at the end of March.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — George’s Ice Cream & Sweets will close at the end of the month after 13 years on Clark Street.

The popular ice cream and desserts shop at 5306 N. Clark St. will have its last day March 31, the business announced Friday. Its owners will retire.

George’s opened in 2009 by the children of George Stotis, who owned and operated Chicago’s Recycle Shop on Clark Street in Andersonville for more than 30 years. The shop was known for its vintage clothing and for outfitting local theater productions with costumes and furniture, while Stotis was known for his friendly demeanor and willingness to talk up customers and passersby, said Anna Stotis, co-owner of the ice cream shop and Stotis’ daughter-in-law.

Stotis died in 2007, and the ice cream shop was opened in his honor, his family said. The family owns the building that houses George’s.

He “always wanted to open a dessert cafe where people could gather and share stories over a cup of coffee and dessert,” the Stotis family said in a news release. “We are humbled by the support and love we received during these last 13 years. Now, it is time for us to retire.”

Since its debut, George’s has become a mainstay of Andersonville’s business district and has been mentioned in lists of the city’s most essential and best ice cream shops.

Credit: Courtesy George’s Ice Cream And Sweets
Charles Williams, manager of George’s Ice Cream and Sweets, in 2020 handed out Halloween candy through a candy chute he made out of recycled ice cream tubs.

The business is active in neighborhood events and fundraisers. In 2020, George’s held a contest challenging neighborhood families to create the most innovative and pandemic-safe Halloween candy delivery system, with the winner receiving 5 pints of ice cream.

Talks about closing or selling the shop began in 2019, when the Stotis children were retiring from their careers, Anna Stotis said. But when the coronavirus hit, the family decided to keep the shop open for the community.

“We thought it was important to have the ice cream store there during COVID, keep our workers employed,” Anna Stotis said.

George’s usually closes for a two-week winter break in January, but with the coronavirus still raging this winter, the business decided to close for all of January, said longtime general manager Charles Williams.

And after a slow February, the family felt this was the time to close, Williams and Anna Stotis said.

“Obviously, COVID was a huge blow,” he said. “We did the best we could. Coming off of two and a half years of COVID, they said this is probably the right time.”

George’s will stay open through the month or while supplies last, Williams said. Already, the store has ordered more pints of ice cream as customers come in for one last visit.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
George’s Ice Cream will close this month after 13 years on Clark Street.

The business will donate 10 percent of March’s total sales to local charities Howard Brown Health and Care For Real.

There has been an outpouring of love for the business since it announced its closure, Williams said. Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co. — the Wisconsin ice cream maker that is sold at George’s — chimed in on Facebook to wish the business well.

“Thank you for being such an awesome partner over the past 13 years,” the ice cream company said. “We will miss you all so much!”

Anna Stotis said she is grateful the business served as a testament to her father-in-law and became a beloved destination in the neighborhood along the way.

“I’m personally overwhelmed by the support,” she said. “The family is very touched. We appreciate it.”

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