The Last Italian Ice, Served By Corporate America

The Last Italian Ice, Served By Corporate America

"A big business always starts small" -Richard Branson


When you move away for college from your hometown, it's always bittersweet.

On one hand, it's the beginning of a new adventurous chapter in your life while on the other hand, it's also heartbreaking to leave the place you've grown up to love and know like the back of your hand. For some, leaving home is quite possibly the best thing but for others like me, it's one of the hardest things to ever do.

I'm from Oakland Park, Florida which is technically a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. (There's a very long history lesson about territorial lines that I won't get in to) It's about 15 minutes or less from the beach, Funky Buddha's Brewery is located here, and most importantly, it's home to Richie's Italian Ice––the best gourmet Italian ice––you'll ever have.

Richie's Italian Ice is a local business that originally opened in 1992 and has been serving it up ever since. Before I moved to Tallahassee it was a hometown staple and favorite. It's located near all the schools, right off of I-95 on Commercial Boulevard, and it was a place that made you feel comfortable. Richie's Italian Ice was just that kind of place; a place you go to celebrate, a place you go to after a bad day, it was the place to get an authentic cotton candy Italian ice. (my personal favorite and the best flavor)

However, recently an article appeared in the Sun Sentinel that announced Richie's would be closing due. When I first discovered the news it felt like someone ripped my heart out and stomped on it a million times. How could a place like this, adored by an entire community, announce it was closing? Well, it was revealed that Publix would be taking over ownership of the lot and Richie's was ordered to close indefinitely.

It's heartbreaking. There are rumors going around town that it may become a Starbucks, a parking lot, but whatever they decide to put there will never amount to the love that Richie's gave to this community. Since the community has discovered this heart-wrenching news, almost 6,000 individuals have signed a petition on to keep Richie's open. Unfortunately, Publix stated that despite the overwhelming feedback from the community, they will continue to proceed with the closure.

For the first time, I really hated Publix. Their pub-subs, delicious baked goods, and $5 sushi Wednesday deal all started to seem like a facade for something much worse. But the truth is, they're just another big company killing our small, local businesses. Small businesses are 54% of all sales in the United States and yet, big companies are continuously taking over small business throughout the country.

It's important to support your local businesses, whatever it may be in your town. Unlike big companies, supporting your local businesses provide an experience you cannot replicate. It's a personal experience that I've never truly felt with big companies; not even at the local Publix that I've shopped at all my life. It's different. They remember my name and ask me how I'm doing in school whenever I come back home. They remember my order by heart and on my birthday it's "on the house." They helped me create a lifetime of memories with my loved ones and I am forever grateful.

Richie's, my local favorite, is coming to an end a part of me feels dead inside. Local businesses are one of a kind stores and posses a certain individuality and should be cherished for as long as you can.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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