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 (Popular Italian ice and frozen custard franchise to open a location off Highway 72 in Madison, Ala.)

Very soon, Madison will be welcoming a new frozen dessert shop on Highway 72!

Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate is thrilled to share that the first Rita’s Italian Ice in the North Alabama area will be opening in Madison. A popular frozen custard and Italian ice franchise, Rita’s will open in a 1,400 square foot space between the existing Salsarita’s and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza at 8046 Highway 72 West. Co-owners Shawn and Mary Beth Toone said the shop is tentatively scheduled to welcome customers in March 2019.

“Rita’s will bring something different to the area that’s fun, creative and, most importantly, delicious,” said Shawn. “Our shop will be a wonderful place for families and friends to indulge in a sweet treat, catch up on conversation, and enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures. We can’t wait to open our doors!”

What started as Pennsylvania firefighter, Bob Tumolo, selling Italian ice on his front porch has grown into a business with more than 600 locations worldwide. Rita’s has been in operation since 1984 and has stayed true to its menu of signature Italian ice, soft serve custards, gelati, milkshakes, hand-scooped custard, custard cakes, fresh baked waffle cones and bowls, and more. Guests can also enjoy sugar-free options and ice treats made with all-natural flavors and real fruit.

The Rita’s Experience

Shawn and Mary Beth originally discovered Rita’s on a family trip to Gulf Shores when they were craving something sweet after dinner. After scouring the area, they came across a delightful little dessert shop in Foley whose bold logo and exciting variety of desserts got their attention. They were blown away by the service, nostalgic atmosphere, and taste they experienced.

“Everything about Rita’s attracted us to the business,” shared Shawn. “The custards were rich and creamy, the Italian ice was refreshing, and everything was made adhering to a very strict freshness policy. We could also have as many free samples as we wanted. That’s something we will continue at the Madison location—free samples for all! Try the mango gelati with vanilla soft serve. It’s incredible.”

After asking their three children what they thought of bringing Rita’s to Madison, Shawn and Mary Beth were assured they had their support all the way. The couple got to work and began searching for the perfect place to bring the concept to life.

“Highway 72 has tons of traffic and the development we are going to has great neighbors and visibility,” explained Shawn. “We think we will be a nice complement to the other tenants. It won’t be long before Rita’s is part of Madison’s busy retail corridor.”

Guests will be able to savor their frozen treats inside the cozy shop or outside under one of Rita’s bright red umbrellas. On sunny days, you may even see Rita’s mascot—”The Ice Guy”—welcoming people inside.

Supporting The Community

“For me, the most exciting part of opening a business is getting to know the community,” said Mary Beth. “There’s such a wide variety of desserts here, and we are sure there’s something to please everyone. More than anything, we want to use Rita’s as a vehicle to connect with our customers and bring an excellent product to the area. Our Rita’s food trucks will help us accomplish that on a broader scale.”

In addition to the brick-and-mortar shop, Rita’s will have several trucks that can be pre-booked for concerts, school fundraisers and events, community and corporate events, and much more. Rita’s will also offer catering and can even host birthday and team parties, along with field trips in the store.

“Madison and Huntsville love its local food truck community and we think our frozen custard and Italian ice will fit right in,” exclaimed Shawn. “We will have multiple trucks with the Rita’s logo that will be out and about in the city. If we attend a school event, for example, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to help them with their fundraising goals. It’s just another way we can reach out and support our neighbors.”

Want to get the most out of your visits to Rita’s? Visit and join the “Cool Alerts Favorite Flavors” day program to stay up-to-date on which flavors are available at the Madison location.

Be sure to follow Rita’s Italian Ice of Madison on Facebook to get all the latest updates on its opening!

Have you been to Rita’s Italian Ice before? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments!


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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS



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