By Diana Colson
In January 2016, Jerry and Jill Williams purchased ABEL’S ICE CREAM. It’s a wonderful place to chill out, for the setting takes you back to a simpler time. The place is immaculate, with six tables and twenty seats indoors, and more seating available on the sidewalk outside. It provides an inviting, relaxing escape from the Florida sun.
It’s easy to drop by for a sweet treat at Abel’s. The shop has great parking! It’s in the same Stickney Point Plaza as New Balance shoes and Stonewood Grill, across Avenue A from Peltz Shoes, Earth Origins, and Carrabba's.
Trip Advisor calls Abel’s Florida-made ice cream the best in Sarasota, and the flavors range from classic vanilla and chocolate to more exotic tastes like Raspberry Truffle, Caramel Caribou, and Elephant Ears. They also serve a delicious, hard-to-find Italian Spumoni, which swirls together pistachios, chocolate, cherries, almonds, and a special blind of glace fruits that carries you back to old Napoli!
The variety of classic and exotic flavors are served in cups or cones (waffle, sugar, or gluten-free), or can be made into old-fashioned sodas, milk shakes, malts, sundaes, or banana splits.
Located at 1886 Stickney Point Road, Abel’s offers more than tasty ice cream. They also serve handmade and decorated gourmet truffles and chocolates from Sweet Shop USA, and a collection of gourmet food items and high-quality jams and jellies from Stonewall Kitchen.
There’s a lot to see inside Abel’s. The extraordinary photos of Arnold Berns, owner of Studio 41, adorn the walls. The man has a vision for Sarasota landmarks, using infrared film to create stunning, dream-like works. The art will please the eye as much as the cup of Coconut Almond Fudge or Dark Chocolate Champagne Truffle will please the palate.
Jerry and Jill Williams discovered their love of Florida by vacationing in the area several times. Once they decided to put their professional experience to work by going into business for themselves, they approached a business broker who had just received the listing for Abel’s Ice Cream. They quickly recognized the genius in the simple but successful business model created by Bill and Norma Abel years earlier.
The Williams arrived in Sarasota the weekend of “The Tornado” which struck our town on January 16, 2016. This was not without a bit of irony, the couple having just come here from Kansas! They arrived with two cars and one Dachshund/Jack Russell mix, Peanut.
Today, Jerry runs the day-to-day operation of Abel’s Ice Cream, along with several part-time high school employees. Of his workday, Jerry says, with a grin: “I show up, have fun, and meet great people. I can’t imagine a better job!” Since the store doesn’t open until noon, Jerry sometimes finds time in the morning for another of his passions: Golf.
Both Jerry and Jill enjoy the many opportunities to spend time outside. One of their newest interests? Paddle boarding. When they’re not working, you might find them taking their boards out to the bay. Or maybe see them heading to the gulf to enjoy the crystal sands of Siesta or the quietness of Turtle Beach.
Married for eighteen years, Jerry and Jill both love island life and are so thankful to be living their dream. They promised themselves that, no matter how many glorious walks on the beach they experience, they’ll never take it for granted.
Jerry and Jill also believe in giving back to their community. They are members of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, have joined a homeless outreach program through their church, and participate in “Hope in a Back Pack”, a program that serves needy children.