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Posted on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Owner says closing of Stucchi's Ice Cream and Cafe in Dexter Friday is 'bittersweet'

By Ben Freed


Owner Jim Seta said he plans to bring equipment, including an espresso bar, from the Dexter location to the original Stucchi's store on South State Street.

Lizzy Alfs |

Stucchi’s Ice Cream and Cafe of Dexter is preparing to serve up its final scoops.

Owner Jim Seta said that ice cream shop, which opened in 2007 and also houses a BearClaw Coffee and Mr. Pita, will close after business hours on Friday.

“Closing the Dexter location is bittersweet,” Seta said.

“It’s a fun place to be and it’s unfortunate that it came to this decision, but business is business and we believe that if we want to focus on expanding our business, the location in Ann Arbor is the right place to do that.”

Seta said that the closing of the Dexter store will allow him and his wife and co-owner Sarah to expand operations at the original Stucchi’s location on South State Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

“We’re looking at it as a consolidation. We’re going to be taking a lot of the equipment we have in Dexter and moving it to South State Street,” Seta said.

“We’re going to bring in the BearClaw Coffee full espresso and coffee bar and we’re also going to be expanding our dessert offerings.”

Seta and his wife took over the downtown Ann Arbor Stucchi’s location in December 2011 after the former owners had considered moving the store. At the time, Seta told that he was planning to eventually add chocolate and coffee offerings.

“The State Street store has been there for 26 years and it has met and exceeded all of our expectations since we took over,” Jim said.


Jim Seta at his Dexter Stucchi's location in 2010.

Photo by Janet Miller

“My wife is a great baker and we look forward to bringing more different options to the location. We’ve heard from customer feedback that they would like to see a bigger variety of dessert products on State Street and in the next month or so people will be able to get more than just ice cream when they come in.”

The new dessert offerings will begin with a treat that has stood the test of time.

“Right now we’re looking at bringing in the ‘Chocolate Way’ cookies that we sell in Dexter,” he said.

“It’s a 110-year-old chocolate chip cookie recipe from my wife's family and we use them as cookies and to make chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.”

The additions to the downtown Ann Arbor store will include some slight remodeling, but Seta said that will be put off until the weather cools off.

“We may close for a few days between Christmas and New Year's, but we want it to be a time that will have minimal impact,” he said.

“We really enjoy being a part of the fun experience on State Street and helping to create that great buzz when the students come back into town.”

Stucchi's other downtown Ann Arbor location, on South University Avenue, also closed recently. Ashvin Amin, who also owned the State Street store before the Setas, owned that location before its closing. According to the company’s website, the only remaining Stucchi’s Ice Cream shop outside of Ann Arbor is in Alma, Mich..

Stucchi’s ice cream is made in Fraser and can also be found at a number of local businesses, including Ahmo’s Deli and Tios Mexican Cafe.

In 2008, the Stucchi’s brand was sold to Michigan-based Papa Romano’s Enterprise, now known as Askar Brands. Representatives from the parent company were unavailable for comment on the closing of the Dexter location.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Wow, I didn't realize it sold, and thought it was still made in Saline.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

It will be great for the owners to spend a little bit of resources making the State Street store nicer. We were in there a month or so ago, and it all felt so dated. I will always support Stuccis over Ben and Jerry's, but would appreciate a nicer atmosphere. French Silk forever!


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Askar Brands, as in Happy Askar owner of Happy's Pizza?


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

No that would be Casey Askar owner/CEO of Papa Ramano's


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

Stucchis has great ice cream. Theres something wrong with the business model. I appreciate Mr. Setas wanting to "consolidate." Thats a good call but theres something wrong with this company. Besides that.....why do people consistantly want to do too many things at once instead of focusing on the core business. A Stucchis-Coffee-Mr. Pita combo? Seriously? Why wasn't there a window cleaning company added? You get my point here?


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Things like this happen when the quality of the product declines. There is a big difference between their ice cream 5 years ago and their ice cream now. We stopped going because like others have stated, it seems like they've reduced the amount of dairy in it and it seems really icy and flavorless now. Just because something is made "locally", it doesn't necessarily mean its better.


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

Is it local still?

Jojo B

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I was a fan of Stucchi's back in the day, but both stores in A2 turned rather dirty and uninviting in recent years. If the owner is going to focus on improving the remaining State Street location, please work on getting some style back into the place and encouraging employees to look like they actually want to be there. I always picture dirty floors, all of the tables piled up in one corner, and employees who give you the "don't bother me" look. I try to avoid the place now.


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

Agree. A lot of the employees are young and not really interested in providing excellent customer service.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

I agree. It was at its best with the original owners.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

food outlets come and go


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Sad. Local ice cream parlors are hard to find but the best local ice cream is Guernsey out of Northville:


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

Agree. But it's incredibly expensive. We get it occasionally in the grocery store in the full 1/2 gallons, but it's over $7.00 for a 1/2 gallon. Very good, though.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

They have really great tasting products all the way around. We drink their milk regularly, and stop in for ice cream when we're in the area.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

As other posters have mentioned, the quality is lower than in the past, not different than other offerings. Everyone is looking to cut corners. We would add that the prices are high and if you are going to pay for premium ice cream, the quality has to be there. Years ago, Stucchi's had a very high quality product with good flavor, but alas, that has changed. Not surprising that the Dexter location didn't make it.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

The over the top prices were a problem for me. Pint goes for what you can get a 1.75l at the grocery.

Ben Freed

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

I know I was surprised when the one on South University closed. Just a few years ago they were talking about expanding the brand outside of Michigan. Where do y'all go for your Ice Cream in Ann Arbor? Stucchi's? Ben and Jerry's? Washtenaw Dairy? Dairy Queen?

Jamie P.

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

Kilwins! Love their Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream. It makes an excellent malt :)


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

We don't go out for ice cream very much, but when we do it is often Cold Stone Creamery. They're a bit pricy but their Sweet Cream flavor is really good and is hard to find anywhere else. We get it mixed with peanut butter and it's pretty awesome. We do go to Stucchi's - both in Dexter and on State - but our favorite place is House of Flavors in Ludington (whenever we are visiting). Washtenaw Dairy and Coffe House Creamery on Jackson are locations we visit occasionally as well.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Depending on the style of ice cream you want, Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen mostly.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

Usually Kilwin's, just because it is most convenient (besides the grocery store)

Jojo B

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Washtenaw Dairy! Sure it's just Stroh's ice cream, but the price is right and it has some great ambience.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

I miss the old Stucchi's on S. University too...went there as a student, and it's not the same looking at that corner without it there. Now, the family goes to Washtenaw Dairy for ice cream, and to the Stucchi's on S. State, if we are in that area.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

We go to Washtenaw Dairy if we go out for ice cream, but with so many choices at the grocery store, sometimes we opt to buy a premium brand and stay home.

paul wiener

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

The last few times I've had their frozen yogurt, regardless of the "flavor", it had no flavor whatever. There is still room for quality frozen yogurt in A2 - if such a thing exists.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

I still miss the Stucchi's that used to be on Washtenaw, where the new mall is now. That was a very convenient location for non-students. I don't get on campus very often these days; when my kids and I were there last week we got ice cream at the State St. Stucchi's, and the ice cream was just not as good as we'd remembered - full of ice crystals and not creamy. Was that just an off day, or has the product itself changed?


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

My parents agree. They lived in Ann Arbor for over 40 years and now come back one month every summer. In the past, one of their first stops was at Stucchi's (in Dexter) to stock up on pints for their stay. They gave that up after last year when they said the product had degraded miserably.

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

I'm sorry to see them go, but Dexter has overdone the food suppliers in Stucchi's location and the village now has two Subway's and about seven pizza providers. It isn't feasible that this relatively small market can support so many.,

Catherine Bosma

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

No on Tios, heck no. A good Tex-Mex joint would be awesome, but Tio's does not fit that bill. And no more pizza please! A Thai place would be awesome too. I am sad to see Stucchi's go, though. Most of my ice cream purchases happen at the DQ (I know, it's not real ice cream), but Stucchi's was a solid community supporter. Good luck to them!


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Way too much pizza out here. Would like to see Tios open a place.

Jojo B

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I was about to joke that the space will be taken over by yet another pizza joint.