Wendy Wilber takes her daughter to get ice cream when she gets an A on her report card. Sweet Dreams’ 42 chocolate flavors and “Chocolate Night” events, now hosted at the shop’s new location, drew the star-student in.
The 51-year-old Gainesville resident looks forward to being able to stop by the parlor on the corner of 13th Street and 16th Avenue on her way to work, she said.
Sweet Dreams of Gainesville, a community staple of almost 18 years, relocated from the intersection of West University Avenue and 34th Street July 1. The move comes after a long run at the Westgate Regency Shopping Center; its new location at 1522 NW 13th St. is about a mile north of UF.
Sweet Dreams’s last day at its former location was June 28. The store served ice cream in its “Cool Bus” in front of the new building until Sunday while construction was finalized.
Jack Polk, a 20-year-old UF computer science senior, said he remembered how hard the old location was to see because of how far it was from the road. The new location should make it easier to access Sweet Dreams and help bring in more people into the shop, he said.
Sweet Dreams owner Mike Manfredi, who wants to expand the shop beyond just ice cream and introduce coffee and baked goods in the coming weeks, said he’s wanted the new spot for years.
“It feels like a victory,” Manfredi said. “It’s always been something that I’ve wanted ever since I saw this location.”
Dennis Wait, a 46-year-old High Springs resident, holds Sweet Dreams in high regard not just because of its ice cream but also because of how the business gave back to the community. He recalled how Manfredi used the “Cool Bus” to serve kids in Gainesville neighborhoods when the storefront was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He used to go to Sweet Dreams regularly when he lived in Gainesville for ten years, he said. Although Wait lives in High Springs now, he still tries to support Sweet Dreams — and the new location makes it a little easier.
“Selfishly, [the shop is] closer to my work, so that’s good to go,” Wait said.
Sarah Ingley, a 44-year-old Gainesville resident, said she’s been a customer of Sweet Dreams for about 15 years and admires the shop’s commitment to the community.
Last Halloween, Sweet Dreams brought its ice cream truck to her dance school, Gainesville Dance Academy, Ingley said, giving the kids something special to celebrate the holiday.
Now, in close proximity to Gainesville High School and UF’s campus, the shop’s new location makes Ingley optimistic.
“My hope is that a wonderful business like Sweet Dreams can help revitalize that corner,” Ingley said.
Contact Jackson Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes.
Jackson Reyes is a third-year sports journalism major. He is the Gator's soccer beat reporter and previously worked as a general assignment reporter on the Metro desk. When he's not reporting, he enjoys collecting records and taking long walks on the beach.