Philly Favorite Turns 30

A simple idea executed by a former Philadelphia firefighter that eventually evolved into a major franchise turns 30 next month.

That would be Rita’s Italian Ice.

Bob Tumolo began selling the flavored icy treat he named after his wife from a small store in Bensalem, Pa., in 1984. Tumolo grew the company over the years and in 1989, he mad it a franchise.

By 1996, Rita’s had more than 100 stores in nine states, according to the company’s website. In 2005, the franchise system was sold to McKnight Capital Partners, and then in December 2011, Falconhead Capital bought a controlling interest. Read more about this story on

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