Morano Gelato permanently closes its doors

by Andrew Sasser | 5/9/20 9:28am

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by Melissa Vasquez / The Dartmouth

Hanover gelateria Morano Gelato announced Friday that it has permanently closed due to “economic hardships” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press statement from owner Morgan Morano.

In the statement posted on the company’s website, Morano noted that after weeks of “weighing all the options,” she has decided that Morano Gelato’s locations in both Hanover and Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, as well as their company Morano Gelato Inc., will shut down.

“This is our final decision,” Morano wrote.

She added that the anticipated loss in business over the summer months and COVID-19 restrictions would make it difficult for the store to continue operations. 

According to the statement, Morano “evaluated” the Paycheck Protection Program loan offered by the federal Small Business Administration, which grants money to small businesses to be used for payroll, rent or utilities. She decided “early on” that the loans would not be “effective enough” for maintaining her business, adding that it would be better suited to businesses “operating with a larger payroll” or who already had “strong” take-out services in place.

Morano also said that due to COVID-19 safety requirements, businesses like Morano Gelato would require “additional capital” to implement new safety protocols, like regular cleaning and new safety operation manuals. She also said that these new requirements left small businesses vulnerable to “lawsuit liabilities.”

In an email statement, Hanover town manager Julia Griffin stressed that the impact of COVID-19 has made business especially challenging this year.

“Sadly, I think the cumulative impact of coming off their normally much slower winter season, then compounded by the prospect of how to serve gelato to happy customers in the age of COVID, was ultimately just more than her business could sustain,” Griffin wrote.

Morano wrote that the gelato store depends on “long lines in the summer season to carry us through the colder months,” and that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business “simply lost this opportunity and there is no recovering.”

Griffin wrote that Morano Gelato was a “beloved” tenant of the Hanover Improvement Society and that town of Hanover will “miss them terribly.”

Finn Hulse ’23, a longtime Morano customer, said that he was “super sad” to hear about the decision. He said that he would come to the store every summer on the way to see his grandparents. 

“It was probably 2011 when my family first went there, and as someone who adores sweets, I felt like I was in absolute heaven,” Hulse said.

Since enrolling at Dartmouth, Hulse said that he visited the gelateria “every week” with his friends.

“I knew every single flavor and could recommend anyone anything on their menu,” he said.

Allison MacLeod ’23 said that she was “heartbroken” when she heard the news that Morano had closed. She said that Morano Gelato had been “closely tied” to many of her favorite Dartmouth experiences, from Dimensions to “fun nights” with friends.

“It scares me to think about how different Hanover could be when we return to campus,” MacLeod added.

Morano Gelato first opened in Hanover in 2010, and in 2015, a new franchise of the store opened in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Forbes Magazine described the store as the “Best Gelato in America” in 2011.

Morano added in her statement that like many small business owners, “my dreams came at a price of personally guaranteeing anything and everything I signed.” She said that in order to ensure that Hanover’s Main Street continues to foster small businesses, “we need to fully support them and their pricing (often determined by their higher operational costs).”

Morano wrote that she was “grateful” that she had the opportunity to serve both the Hanover and Chestnut Hill communities and that her business brought “happiness” to both the “young and old.” 

“Watching customers get excited over our daily flavors brought me much joy, and I will forever appreciate these wonderful memories,” Morano wrote.