- For nearly two decades, Gill and Myra Gillis have delivered sweet cold treats for York communities through their purple food truck window.
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Ice cream is a universal language, Gill Gillis says, a language that has connected him and wife, Myra, to the York County community for the past 18 years through their Gillice Italian Ice & Ice Cream truck.
They first stumbled upon the idea of running their own business while dating. Myra took Gill out to an Italian ice franchise and convinced him they should start their own Italian ice venture.
Purchasing a franchise was out of the question for the couple, so shortly after getting married, they began planning their own business.
As he asked around, Gill stumbled upon an old step van for sale in Baltimore.
‘Work your plan’
Growing up with a mechanic for a father, Gill learned his way around an engine, which came in handy when turning his new purchase into an ice cream truck.
He gutted it, cleaned it, added an AC unit, and painted it purple. Once he finished the transformation, he and Myra drove from neighborhood to neighborhood and to events throughout Baltimore selling frozen novelties.
Several years later, the couple began looking for a quieter community to raise their family and discovered a development in New Freedom.
They began hitting York County’s communities, selling their signature Gillati — a sweet and creamy blend of Italian ice and ice cream.
Today, almost 20 years later, they’re still driving around that same tropically decked out truck, appearing at everything from community festivals and church functions to weddings and corporate events.
They’ve expanded to offering a second mobile trailer, and in cooler months switch to selling hot cocoa, cider, and soul-warming treats.
The secret to what’s made his business stand the test of time?
“Plan your work. Work your plan,” Gill says.
As they grew from a combined family of five kids to having nine grandchildren, Gill and Myra welcomed the next two generations into the business.
When they’re not helping with the truck, Gill and Myra’s grandkids are exploring their own endeavors: an HVAC company, a vending machine business, a snowball stand — Gill and Myra are proud to have passed on their entrepreneurial spirit.
At the same time, the couple have connected deeply with their community, organizing events, serving with the Lions Club, Heritage Museum, VFW, New Freedom Food Pantry, and YMCA.
In 2021, Myra and Gill organized the inaugural Gill Ice Parade in New Freedom and welcomed over 60 floats down Main Street.
Gill’s favorite way to give back, though, is through sweet Gillati treats and creating moments of rainbow bliss.
“The biggest reward,” he says, “is to see the spark in the eyes of the kids.”