Sweet Italian ice trailer opens in time for summer

May 16—Healthcare staff gathered in the Community Howard Regional Health parking lot on Thursday. It was nearing noon and the blacktop was heating up.

Some of the hospital employees found shelter from the sun under a tent while picking up free flowers. Others, clutching potted plants, waited for Steven Daniel to finish setting up his Italian ice trailer. The line moved quickly as soon as he told the crowd he was ready.

The trailer represented years of preparation for Daniel, which paid off when he was finally able to open Giovanni's Sweet Italian Ice for business.

Daniel explained he first tried Italian ice several years ago.

"It might sound strange, but I had a vision to do this," Daniel said. "At the time, I didn't have the resources. But I manifested it. I was faithful to Christ and God provided a way for me to have this."

The business owner explained it took him several years to raise the funds to put his vision into action. He had a clear idea of what the trailer would look like.

"It's beautiful," Daniel said of the tropical-themed wrapping that now catches the eyes of customers.

Daniel explained he named Giovanni's Sweet Italian Ice after his son. The name seemed like a good fit for an Italian ice business and he wanted to show his son how much he loved him.

"He loves it," Daniel said of his son's affinity for Italian ice. Chuckling, he added, "Actually, he's addicted to it."

So far, Daniel said, the Italian ice truck has done well. He's been taking it out during warm spring days and has been booked for several events, including Teacher Appreciation Week at Central Middle International School and Healthcare Team Week at Community Howard Health.

Dodie Richardson, one of the first healthcare workers to pick up her Italian ice, ordered the tropical rainbow flavor.

She nodded while she took her first bite.

"It's good," Richardson said.

Angie Bowman, another healthcare worker who ordered a few scoops of tropical rainbow, agreed with the sentiment. She added that it was a nice treat for the warm day.

Daniel said his personal favorite flavor is called "candy fish," which imitates the taste of Swedish Fish candy.

"If you've got a sweet tooth, you'll love that particular flavor," the business owner said. "It's just so delicious."

The strawberry lemonade, tropical rainbow and watermelon flavors have been Daniel's best sellers.

"I've got so many different choices," Daniel said, listing off more options like banana daiquiri, lemon and pineapple. He added it was fairly easy to learn how to make Italian ice and has been developing his own flavor recipes.

"The nurses stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic and really went above and beyond the call of duty," Daniel said. "For me to be able to serve them is definitely a blessing."

James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or james.bennett@kokomotribune.com.