SAUGERTIES, NY – Bob and Larry Siracusano, owners of Sawyer Motors dealerships, will unveil something that isn’t a high-tech electric car, rugged SUV or even a high-performance sports car. It’s ice cream.
Bob Siracusano, who operates Sawyer Motors, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Saugerties, and Larry Siracusano, who runs Sawyer Chevy in Catskill, said the Sawyer Ice Cream Company, located just across Ulster Avenue from Sawyer Motors, will open this summer, maybe by late July or August.
Bob Siracusano said supply chain issues keep pushing back the opening date of the ice cream shop, which features a drive-in style reminiscent of the 1950s. He said air conditioning work still needed to be done. done before the store can open.
The brothers had originally hoped to open the store for Memorial Day weekend, then lobbied to have it open in time for the Sawyer Motors Car Show on Sunday, July 10.
The show will cover Main and Partition streets. It will feature hundreds of classic cars and seven bands from 1-6 p.m. that day.
Bob Siracusano said that when the family was looking to replace a time-worn car wash that was no longer commercially viable on the site, they decided an ice cream stand would be the perfect solution.
“We’ve been thinking about it for six or seven years,” he said.
He added that the family knew from the start what they wanted to do: a retro-style ice cream stand with walk-in windows. The brothers pointed to the stainless steel cladding that lines the building. The cladding was reminiscent of old dining cars or streamlined trains from the 1950s. The stand will feature one or two vintage kiddie rides and vintage automobilia, Larry Siracusano said.
The family’s love of all things vintage is on full display at Sawyer Motors in Saugerties, steps from the new ice cream stand. The showroom is full of vintage items, including vintage bikes and motorcycles, signs, and even a Good Humor bumper car and ice cream bike.
A space on the second floor will serve strictly as a storage area, said Larry Siracusano.
Once the store opens, it will be fully loaded with many options, including soft and hard ice cream, milkshakes and malts, sundaes and ice cream cakes. Larry Siracusano said they expect to offer between 18 and 20 flavors.
Bob Siracusano said unlike some ice cream stands, they will strictly offer ice cream, avoiding other drive-thrus such as hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. “We want it to be simple,” he said.
He said they also plan to up the nostalgia factor with hot rod cruises on select nights.
The family is no stranger to the ice cream business. He had owned the Jolly Cow Drive-In on US Route 9W in the city of Ulster for several years.
While the family eventually sold the Jolly Cow, Bob Siracusano then bought an old 1967 Good Humor ice cream truck. He said once he knew he wanted a vintage ice cream truck, he scoured the internet and finally found a man in Chicago who had a fully restored truck and was looking to part with it. He ended up buying it.
Now, Bob Siracusano visits schools and community events wearing a vintage Good Humor ice cream costume, handing out ice cream to students at Saugerties schools. He is also known for making appearances at Saugerties Stallions baseball games at Cantine Field. He estimates he handed out $5,000 worth of ice cream from the truck.
Posters for this year’s car show across Saugerties feature the ice cream truck.
Regarding the car show, he said more than 400 cars had pre-registered as of July 1. “We usually get 500 to 700 cars,” he said.
All money raised from classic car owners registering their vehicles is directed to area charities. He said last year’s show raised $67,000, which was distributed to area nonprofits, families and needs.
Looking back on last year’s auto show, Bob Siracusano admitted he wasn’t sure how effective it would be after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the sponsors came back and many car owners ended up donating $100 instead of the $25 entry fee.
When the day of the show arrived, the crowd exceeded the brothers’ expectations. “The street was the busiest ever,” Bob Siracusano said.
Eventually, heavy rain came in the afternoon, but people stayed, taking refuge in businesses in the area.
He said he wanted the show to benefit businesses along Main and Partition streets and that they weren’t even intentionally bringing in outside food vendors. Instead, visitors are encouraged to visit local restaurants and shops, he added.
“A lot of restaurants have their best day of the year,” he said.
Photos: Sawyer Ice Cream Company arrives in Saugerties