VOLUME 22 #3

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Jeremy Litwack eating water ice
Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

Frozen assets

Florida learns to love a Philly favorite

ALUMNI | Jeremy Litwack, BE93, was 18 years old when he began selling water ice as a street peddler in Philadelphia. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, a thriving enterprise with 150 employees and eight stores throughout Florida.

When Litwack opened his first store in Orlando in 1996, he says most people in the area had never heard of water ice. But now, with a menu of more than 40 water ice flavors, soft serve and gelati, the business has a strong customer following both in stores and online.

Some 60,000 Facebook fans and email subscribers (called J-List members) stay updated on events, store openings and Litwack’s rotating lineups of creative flavors and names. As he continues to experiment with flavors, recent menu items have included Key West Tropical and Pumpkin Pie. One customer favorite is a mint-chocolate-chip concoction called Scoop Froggy Frogg.

“The real gold comes in the moments when I am able to personally engage with a customer who shares a story or two about how much Jeremiah’s has meant to their life,” Litwack says. “Be it as their favorite high school hangout, the site of their first date or even wedding engagement, these stories and interactions are what truly drive me.”

Litwack credits his time at the University of Delaware for teaching him lessons that were crucial to the ongoing success of his company, such as strategic market analysis. Careful market analysis aids him in everything from site selection to product development to promotional campaign planning as Jeremiah’s Ice continues to grow, he says.

“My experience at UD in the marketing program was the initial spark that lit my curiosity and my passion to venture out and create my own future built upon my Italian ice street peddling roots,” Litwack says. “The principles learned in the program have continued to guide me to this day.”

He says he also learned valuable skills outside of the classroom during his student years—coincidentally, another connection to ice—as a member of UD’s hockey team.

“My experiences on the ice nurtured my competitive spirit and built a strong appreciation for teamwork and camaraderie,” he says. “The Fightin’ Blue Hens instilled in me the value of determination and grit.”

To students who hope to become entrepreneurs themselves, Litwack says that loving what you do is crucial to overcoming adversity. “There is absolutely no substitute for passion,” he says.

Jeremiah’s Ice is poised to double in size within the next year, and Litwack plans to continue to expand with the goal of becoming a nationally respected frozen dessert brand.

“Owning my own business is rewarding on so many levels,” he says. “Jeremiah’s Italian Ice has afforded me the creative freedom to mold my own professional destiny. I am in direct control of how my future evolves and have had the great fortune of watching my initial vision grow and mature into the fun, robust and vibrant brand it is today.”

Article by Sunny Rosen, AS14

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