This weeks Spotlight is on Debra Kalbach, owner of a Levittown icon, Jo Jo’s Ice Cream! Let’s find out a little about her…..
Where did you grow up ?
My parents were original owners in the Elderberry section. I now live in Pennwood Crossing. I also lived in Thornridge for 20 years.
Tell us about your husband / kids.
I first married in 1979, we had 3 children, Joey, Crystal, and Joshua. I re-married in 2005
Where did you go to high school ?
I went to Pennsbury HS and graduated from there in 1975
What do you guys like to do with your free time ?
Traveling is our hobby, when Jo Jo’s is closed that is what we do. We love to cruise or go to all inclusive places !
What are some of your favorite things about Levittown ?
Levittown has always been my home. I loved walking to the Levittown Shopping Center as a kid and the events they had there such as the Easter Parade, Santa arriving in a helicopter. I loved the LPRA. I have so many great memories of growing up in Levittown. I had wonderful parents who always taught me to reach for the stars, which is what I always did. “if you think you can, you will, If you think you can’t, then you won’t” I live by that, as well as to show respect, loyalty and concern.
What do you like about Levittown Comfort’s page?
I just love reading it!
Okay, let’s hear about Jo Jo’s Ice Cream.
In 1988, my first husband and I were asked about what we thought about opening the old Chippers. I thought, WOW, but all I knew about ice cream was how to eat it ! After some time talking to the owners we decided to give it a try and we opened in 1989. After early trials and errors we kept at it until we got it perfect. We make everything right here in the store! I am happy to say that after 24 years we are one of the leading ice cream sores in Levittown. I think our secret is that we put lots of love into every product that we make!! My oldest son knows everything about the business, he really is like my right arm. I consider it a mom and son shop. Without his help it would be much more difficult. I truly appreciate my son and all he does to make the store successful. He knows everything about it, he should, he grew up in it !!!
Great story, lastly, tells about the fundraising efforts at Jo Jo’s.
Around 3 years ago, a young mother of 2, Neysa Arena Stagliano , a stage 4 colon cancer patient at the time, came to me asking about maybe a 10-15% percent fundraiser. I thought, you know what, I have been in business a long time, and it is time to give back to this wonderful community, so I said yes to Neysa and told her we would donate 20% and off went the off went the fundraising events. Since then , every Tuesday from 6-9 we hold a fundraiser for different charities. A local dj, Jeffrey Weiman, provides entertainment and donates his time, we have basket auction as well. Sadly, Neysa passed away this past December and is greatly missed, but I am most grateful to her for opening my eyes to fundraising. I believe she is still at every event we do. Last year we raised a little over $32,000.00 and we are already at $38,051.52 this year !!! These events truly warm my heart more than you can imagine. I get happy tears all the time and love it. We do have a great community.
Thanks so much Debra. We have happy tears too!
Levittown, if you know of anyone that should have the “spotlight” on them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org