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Bees' partnership with Frisbie's is icing on the cake

Originally printed in New Britain Herald, 2/8/2016

NEW BRITAIN — Friday might have been a snow day for area schools, but that didn’t stop Frisbie’s Dairy Barn from thinking about ice cream and baseball.

As snow blowers hummed and city plow trucks made their way through the city in the late afternoon, Michael and Todd Frisbie came out from behind the counter of their Farmington Avenue ice cream shop to create a little buzz, literally.

The latest homemade cake from Frisbie’s, featuring a three-dimensional logo of the New Britain Bees, a baseball and enough frosting for an entire dugout, was a limited edition of one and was presented to team general manager Patrick Day, who was on hand with his family to enjoy some unique Frisbie flavors and pose for photos with shop staff before the cake became history.

Day said the team plans to collaborate with Frisbie’s and other corporate and civic leaders from the city on various promotional projects as the season gets closer. Todd Frisbie said it is a priority for the ice cream shop to connect with groups and organizations in the city, like the recent contest with New Britain Youth Theater to create a flavor in its honor.

Michael Frisbie said when he set sights on revitalizing the Farmington Avenue corner occupied for decades by the former Guida’s Milk Barn, he knew he wanted to not just be a business owner, but an active member of the New Britain community. Joining forces with the city’s new baseball team fit that philosophy, he said, because the two businesses share a built-in audience. "Kids love baseball and kids love ice cream," he said.

Michael Frisbie was honored by the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce in January for his civic efforts and the construction project that brought a Noble gas station and reestablished an ice cream shop in that location. Frisbie’s Dairy Barn will mark its first anniversary in July.

Day said the Bees are on track for opening day on Thursday, April 21.

Bill Carroll, the city’s economic development director, was at the store on Friday to get a look at the cake and wrap his hands around a pre-dinner sundae. He said Frisbie’s and the Bees, in a short period of time, have become two valued leaders in the business community. "It’s nice to see them working together. Frisbie’s knew they wanted to do something special when they heard the team was coming to town and there it is," said Carroll, pointing to the cake. "Get some photos of it while you can."

Christopher Fortier can be reached at 860-801-5063 or cfortier@newbritainherald.com.


Ice cream makes a big comeback with Frisbie's

Originally printed in New Britain Herald, 7/14/2015

NEW BRITAIN — The long-awaited Frisbie’s Dairy Barn is almost ready to open.

Frisbie’s is built on the site of the former Guida’s Dairy Bar at 951 Farmington Ave., which offered specialty ice cream creations for 55 years after its opening in 1945. After Guida’s closed, the site attracted a lot of interest but was never developed.

“We had a lot of developers look at the property and make offers, but it just wasn’t the right fit for the community,” said Bill Carroll, the city’s business development director.

In 2013, Mike Frisbie, owner and president of Hunter Development, approached Carroll with a development proposal for the site that included a new ice cream shop that serves store-made ice cream.

Carroll embraced the plan. “I said, ‘That’s perfect,’” he recalled.

“We wanted to bring [an ice cream parlor] back because everyone raved about the old Guida’s Dairy Bar,” said Heather Mirisola, Frisbie’s Dairy Barn’s vice president and director of marketing. “So we thought we’d bring that back to the city.”

Construction began in December and was substantially completed last week.

Frisbie said three steps remain before the establishment can open its doors for business. Some exterior landscaping needs to be done first, including installation of a rock wall and putting in some plantings, he said.

Frisbie’s also has to get its final municipal approval. The shop’s grand opening was originally scheduled for last month but had to be postponed for finishing touches.

“We appreciate the city’s patience,” Mirisola said.

The establishment also needs to make sure it has enough ice cream to serve an expected enthusiastic clientele.

“What’s holding us back is that we want to make sure we have enough ice cream for our customers,” Mirisola said. “We don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Once the remaining items on its checklist are completed, Frisbie’s will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Erin Stewart and other city leaders and will begin serving the public within a few days. Frisbie said the ceremony and opening will happen within the next week.

When customers enter for the first time, they will have their choice of 24 ice cream flavors, which will change periodically. Frisbie’s will give patrons the opportunity to suggest flavors, Mirisola said.

The 2,000-square-foot facility has 40 seats, wireless Internet access and a sleek interior design.

“It’s brand spankin’ new,” Carroll said. “Man, it looks beautiful.”

In an effort to preserve the site’s heritage, one of Frisbie’s walls also features pictures of from Guida’s original opening.

The establishment’s opening is the first of a four-stage development plan. A Noble gas station with a Dunkin’ Donuts inside is slated to open at 973 Farmington Ave. on Aug. 24. Frisbie also plans to break ground on a restaurant between the ice cream shop and gas station in the late fall and will construct a assisted-living facility for seniors in the future.

The developer’s immediate priority, however, is to get Frisbie’s up and running and make it the happening local attraction that Guida’s once was.

“We want it to be fun, comfortable and a gathering place for the city,” Mirisola said.

Frisbies Ice Cream, Noble Gas Nearing Completion

Originally printed in New Britain City Journal, 6/11/2015

Those who drive by Farmington Ave. on a regular basis have seen the corner near Slater Road developing each day. Michael Frisbee of Hunter Development has been building multiple businesses on the site and plans call for their opening in about one month.

“Mike Frisbie has been a Godsend. I do not know where he came from,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “He came to New Britain and said ‘I want to invest here, what do you have for me?’, and I said ‘where do you want me to start?’”

Frisbie’s first choice was the area on Farmington Ave. where Guida’s Dairy used to be located.

He is building a gas station called Noble Gas (Frisbie’s own brand) with a drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts. The Dunkin’ Donuts will be owned by Cary Gagnon who also owns the store at NewBrite Plaza and on Main St. It will move from Farmingdale Plaza on Farmington Ave. to the new location down the road.

“A drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts is all the talk in that area,” Stewart added.

He is also building an ice cream dairy bar called Frisbie’s. The ice cream store is located on the property in a Cape Cod Style building of about 3,000 square feet. There will be 30 seats with a seating area also outside and music. It will be surrounded by a retaining wall.

Students from Central Connecticut State University helped in the design and several of the original booths from Guida’s Ice Cream will be inside.

“He will use the old Guida’s pictures on the walls and make all the ice cream with Guida’s products,” said Stewart. “He loved the story of what Guida’s had there.”

Frisbie is also building an Italian Restaurant. The restaurant is not as close to completion as the dairy bar and gas station and does not have a name as of yet. It is expected to be something original and not a chain, but no one is sure at this time.

A senior care facility is also planned for the site in the future. The block purchase cost around $1 million, according to City officials.

Most recently, Frisbie put up a sign welcoming all to New Britain.

“He understands that Farmington Avenue is the gateway to New Britain,” said Stewart. “He put the welcome sign up and did a great job. We want to put a City Seal on it.”

But, Frisbie may not be done in New Britain.

“He is one of the people looking at the old police station site,” said Stewart. “He is looking at other sites too.”

Frisbie was unavailable for comment.



Eat Ice Cream. Be Happy.