Husband and wife Harish and Nalini Patel, owners of Barista’s Coffehouse at 112 W. 10th St., were approved recently for a loan to take over a vacant shop and turn it into Barista’s Ice Cream Parlor. The space was formerly a computer gaming lab, and was home to an ice cream shop in decades past.
In the eyes of Harish Patel, a scoop shop is a perfect fit for the storefront right across the breezeway.
“I keep looking at this empty space, and we keep having visions,” he said Thursday. “Why not make it a match?
“These are the two things my wife and I know best, ice cream and coffee.”
The pair started from scratch an ice cream store in the West Valley Mall in 1997, and five years later sold the successful business.
The couple will resurrect that expertise at the 110 W. 10th St. shop, which will serve “premium” ice cream, along with splits, handmade shakes, malts and floats.
“(I like to) put out a quality product and make customers smile,” Harish Patel said.
Plans are in place to open in a couple months, once construction is complete.
The venture is made possible by a small business loan program started a few years ago by the city of Tracy as part of a “stimulus” effort.
Tracy put aside $1 million in old developer fees to act as seed money, and that was leveraged by the Grow America Fund into $4 million available for local businesses. So far, Barista’s is the first to take advantage of the program, said Ursula Luna-Reynosa, the city’s economic development director.
“I’m really excited that the first loan went to a downtown business,” she said. “It proves that businesses can be successful downtown.”
According to Luna-Reynosa, the ice cream parlor’s business plan calls for hiring five employees, and the Patels will have 10 years to pay back the $150,000 loan.