Cape Cod Ice Cream Shops Involved in Heated CONEtroversy

The Ice Cream Smuggler in Dennis

DENNIS – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

And apparently a lot of people are screaming for the Ice Cream Smuggler to remain in its current location on Route 6A in Dennis.

According to posts on their social media pages, the owners of the ice cream shop are being forced to leave their current location because the landlord did not renew their lease.

“Unfortunately, our landlord did not give us the opportunity to negotiate a new lease. Instead the building has been leased to an ice cream chain without our prior knowledge,” Carter and Paul Catalano wrote on their Facebook page.

The new operator set to begin selling ice cream at the 716 Main Street location is Cape Cod Creamery, which has locations in Yarmouth and Hyannis.

But the Ice Cream Smuggler’s Carter Catalano said they’re not going anywhere just yet, While their lease expires on May 13th, Catalano said they’re now in litigation with the landlord and hope to be in business at their location through the summer.

“We’ve had both our children while we’ve been running it and we’ve had countless staff members that have just become family and the community and we love being part of the community,” said Catalano.

She said they were promised a lease, but never given an opportunity to negotiate or match terms, or even knew another company was interested.

For their part, Cape Cod Creamery has taken to social media to rebuke online claims they forced the Ice Cream Smuggler out.

“We were asked last year to take over the Ice Cream Smuggler in Dennis by the founder and owner of the building, the Hassett family. Let me say again, WE WERE APPROACHED. We were told the lease was expiring and the owners wanted to go in a different direction,” Cape Cod Creamery owner Alan Davis wrote on Facebook.

The post insists there is no takeover of Ice Cream Smuggler and no “greed.”

“We never wanted any business to be shut down because of us. We were approached and told that there was not going to be a lease for the current tenant,” Davis told the NewsCenter.

Davis said he was told by the landlord that the building would be either left empty, or someone else would take a new lease.

“I am sorry that people are upset, but, the original owners still maintain ownership of the building and they chose not to renew the lease of the current tenant,” Davis said in a social media post.

That same post on Facebook includes a statement from Jody Hassett Sanchez, whose family owns the building and started the Smuggler 39 years ago.

“When my parents, Pat and Ken Hassett opened the Ice Cream Smuggler 39 years ago, they chose Dennis because our family has owned a home and been part of the town for almost six decades. Operating with integrity, giving back to Dennis and creating some amazing flavors are just three of the many reasons The Smuggler became a success and a beloved gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. We’re honored to now be partnering with Alan Davis and the Cape Cod Creamery. Alan is a Dennis native who cares deeply about the town and has consistently supported the community in the tradition of my parents. “

Jody Hassett Sanchez

The social media sites of both ice cream shops have lit up with comments on the controversy. One post had been shared nearly 700 times, while another had 245 comments by early Tuesday afternoon.

“My family has been going to the Ice Cream Smuggler for more than 30 years and we’ll keep going to the Ice Cream Smuggler for another 30 years, where ever you are,” wrote Tom Wideman on the Ice Cream Smuggler’s Facebook page.

“This is so wrong! Let’s help save the Smuggler,” wrote Lisa C. Wick.

On Cape Cod Creamery’s Facebook page, some criticized them for wanting to move into the Dennis location, but others were supportive.

“Cape Cod Creamery is THE BEST ice cream around. Good for you for being the BEST in the industry and expanding your business. And shame on those who whine and cry about your success,” wrote Justin Ale.

“If you don’t own the property, there is no guarantee your business will remain in that location,” posted Sue Sullivan.

The owners of the Ice Cream Smuggler said they bought the business in 2005, in the middle of a 30 year lease.

Catalano said a lease had been offered to them last September by the landlord, but they were never able to negotiate the terms. Catalano said they had a few questions about the proposal, but never heard back from the landlord’s attorneys.

Davis said he has a letter from the building owner indicating the Catalanos made changes to a lease offered to them last year by the building owner that were not acceptable.

“We were promised a lease and then we were never given an opportunity to negotiate or even match terms,” asserted Catalano.

Originally from Cape Cod, Catalano said she moved home from New York after the September 11th terrorist attacks to find solace and safety.

She said that “justice will be done” and the Ice Cream Smuggler will survive, even it has to be in another location.

At this point, Davis said his plans to move into the building in Dennis are on hold until the building owner and the Ice Cream Smuggler owners settle their dispute. He praised the Catalano family for running a good ice shop over the years.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the Smuggler. They’ve done a great job there,” said Davis.

By MATT PITTA, News Director

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