Update, January 23, 5:42 p.m.
The Original Farmers’ Market has released a statement surrounding the closure of Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream:
The Original Farmers Market is sadly saying farewell to longtime merchant, Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, and thanks the Gill family for bringing sweet treats to the West Patio for many years. As the original and longtime owner of the Market and stewards of the property, we always strive to maintain a high standard of quality, safety and customer service for all of our guests and merchants, no matter their age or tenure. We work closely to maintain the property and present our customers with a mix of nostalgic shops that have been our beloved hallmarks for decades along with carefully selected new merchants that complement our historic and vibrant setting. Over the last three years, we have been discussing some needed infrastructure repairs with the owners of Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, not specific to their retro decor. After much discussion and encouragement, they chose not to make the necessary changes to their stall infrastructure that decades of use demanded, and that our customers deserve. Losing any tenant of the Market is difficult, however, the overall mix of merchants will carefully remain true to the Market’s roots. Stall #416 will soon be scooping again. We have identified a wonderful, classic family-owned ice cream maker and we will be announcing their opening plans soon. -Mark Panatier, Vice President of Marketing
It’s the end of an era for Gill’s Ice Cream at the Original Farmers’ Market. The iconic pink-and-white stall, which has been scooping ice cream the old fashioned way since 1937, will serve the last of their classic soft serve on February 2.
As a youngster, I tasted my very first chocolate swirl cone at Gill’s. My mother watched my head explode with chocolate euphoria. According to owner Jody Gill, the Market has put pressure on the family-owned business to remodel, including an update to its facade and the removal of its retro decor. “Part of our charm is the original whimsical facade that my father, Bob Gill, created back in the late 1930s,” Jody says. “It’s just so sad that we can’t keep our original store front. Unfortunately I have no choice other than to close.” When reached for comment, the marketing department at the Farmers’ Market confirmed that Gill’s would be closing on February 2 and that it would be replaced with another old fashioned ice cream parlor.
The parlor was one of the first businesses located in the heart of Farmers’ Market (stall #416 on the Farmers Market West Patio), and so the sudden closure came as a shock to Jody. “Our long term customers do not even know yet,” she says. “Our most famous item is the ice cream fruit basket mold. I’m one of the few folks in the county still making ice cream molds today. Our chocolate dip was also very popular, and we were the first to discover Rocky Road. I hope someone will allow us to open somewhere else in the Los Angeles area. I’ll be placing everything in storage and hope for the best. I can’t think of anything else in the world I would rather do than sell ice cream.”
I always thought it was so extraordinary that we still had this little touch of vintage Los Angeles that was so wonderfully unchanged after all these years. I am deeply saddened to say goodbye to the second-happiest place on earth. I’ll miss their frozen dip bananas, sundaes on Sundays, and their cherry cokes with true cherry syrup.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram