The passionate owner of Amore Gelato, located in Denver, CO, shares how his gelateria conducts business daily, plus lessons and tips he’s learned along the way.
Bruce Koeller (BK), Owner
535 16th Street
#120 (16th & Welton)
Denver, CO 80202
JM: What inspired you to open a gelateria?
BK: We absolutely love gelato! With its intense fresh flavors and having less fat than ice cream we feel it is a wonderful product and business.
JM: What do you think is the key to your success?
BK: Using the best ingredients, plus giving a beautiful presentation by friendly staff. We hope to give our customers a “WOW” experience! Our motto is “because Italy is too far.”
JM: If you could create any flavor, what would it be?
BK: Well, since we are in Denver, I guess it would have to be the “Mile High Experience,” which of course is a mountain of flavor in every bite!
JM: How long have you been in business?
BK: We opened about a year ago, but we worked on the location, training and name for over two years.
JM: How many stores/shops do you own?
BK: We have one location.
JM: What’s on your menu?
BK: We display over 30 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, two flavors of frozen yogurt, and offer lots of toppings, shakes/smoothies, sundaes, espresso drinks and a few other beverages. We would like to add to our menu to increase sales during the cold winter months, but have a very limited space in our small gelateria.
JM: What is the main thing you would want people to know about your business?
BK: We are locally owned and operated, and we make our gelato right here, fresh, in small batches.
JM: What are your goals? Would you like to franchise your business or expand your menu?
BK: My original business plan is to open 6 stores in the Denver and surrounding areas. We need to get a couple years of experience first before taking the next step. I have added cupcakes to the menu but they have not really caught on yet. Our core business is gelato, we do it really, really well and that’s why people are coming to us. We have not yet done any catering, wholesale or events. Those are areas I would like to expand to next year.
JM: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in business?
BK: We are downtown and there is little-to-no parking. This needs to be part of our future location criteria. A yogurt shop opened literally steps from our front door just after we did, so we are sharing the customers, which is a challenge. We have added a sample cart outside our door which really helps draw people in, we now have a loyalty card for locals who become regulars.
JM: What drives/inspires you?
BK: We want to be, and be known as, the best gelateria in the Denver area.
JM: Do you have events at your shop? What kind?
BK: There is a Downtown Denver tour that brings in their group to our shop every week. We give them a fun, informative talk about gelato, answer questions and give them a cup of fresh gelato. They love it and keep coming back!
JM: Is there an occurrence/business blooper you would most like to forget?
BK: Not really, although when someone leaves the freezer door open all night and we don’t have any back up gelato to sell, it is a bit stressful. We have learned a lot of small things that all add up to operating a more efficient and smooth running store. There is much more to learn and we are always open to ideas and suggestions.
JM: What do you think sets you apart from other gelaterias?
BK: We have a very limited menu that focuses on gelato. We rotate a huge number of flavors thanks to the PreGel recipe webpage! Our location is in a tourist area of downtown, our shop is small but well designed.
JM: How did you come up with the name for your business?
BK: I played around with a few ideas but we love gelato so we thought what better than Amore?
JM: What is one of your most rewarding experiences/greatest success?
BK: Gelato is still fairly unknown to most people. When they try a sample and you just watch their eyes light up from that “wow” experience, it is a great feeling!