Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Cone E. Island’s 25 years

Some GW landmarks are such an integral part of student life that it can seem like they have been on campus forever. Cone E. Island, the go-to, “only at GW” ice cream parlor, celebrates 25 years on GW’s campus this November.

While GW’s campus has seen a lot of additions over the years, Cone E. Island hasn’t seen many drastic changes. Other than the yearly paint jobs that go with sprucing up the facility, and experimentation with selling varied food options such as popcorn, hot dogs and, most recently, cupcakes, the store retains the same mission it had when it opened.

“We do it for the kids, whatever makes them happy,” said Jun Esmilla, co-owner of the store.

Although the shop has strong ties to the GW community – the owners of the first Cone E. Island store were GW undergraduate students Mark Bautista and Steve Gruber – the first Cone E. Island was in Georgetown. After about four years the Georgetown and another location fell short of expectations, the two founders moved the shop to its ultimate destination at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. when GW opened the mall in 1984.

By this time, the two GW alumni had accumulated a third partner, Alan Rubin, who had attended GW for graduate school and still acts as an owner for the ice cream parlor.

The connection to the GW community has been important for the ice cream parlor. Esmilla, who has been employed at Cone E. Island for 15 years, working his way up from ice cream scooper to co-owner, feels the University’s students are what drive the business.

“Cone E. Island and its connection with GW is the most important thing. My business comes from GW like 75 percent,” Esmilla said. “Kids like it there, and it makes everybody happy. Ninety percent of who works with me comes from GW. It’s just connected.”

Rubin also believes the store’s employment of GW students allows for a deeper communal relation.

“A lot of the employees, for example, work there from their freshman year all the way through graduation, it’s a way of supporting themselves,” Rubin said. “We’ve gotten letters from parents thanking us for employing their children all these years.”

“I used to go there all the time, almost every night. It was ridiculous,” sophomore Adrienne Watkins said of her freshman year routine at the ice cream parlor. “I think it’s definitely freshman year that it was one of the main spots to hit up.”

For junior Tyler McPherson, the store’s allure lasted long after freshman year.

“When school starts I go once a week, which is probably a little bad for you,” he said.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Cone E. Island will be scooping out some new perks, which, according to Rubin, will include daily freebees. Cone E. Island will begin handing out free ice cream cones, which it will advertise through its Twitter account. Coupons for one free ice cream product after buying three will also be dispersed.

In addition, the parlor will be going green. After pleas from environmentally conscious students, the store will exchange all Styrofoam items for paper alternatives.

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