LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville couple is moving ahead to expand their small business.
Justin and Kristin Gilbert opened their small gelato shop about seven years ago in Norton Commons called Gelato Gilberto.
Business is good these days. It wasn't always that way. The Great Recession of 2008 was a big challenge as few new homes were built in Norton Commons.
All that has changed today. Construction of new housing is underway just about everywhere you look at the planned community. The Gilberts survived the recession and now they are moving forward with plans to open a production facility across the metro in the Portland neighborhood.
"We use Italian tradition and Kentucky products to make really delicious gelato," said Justin Gilbert, describing his Italian ice cream store.
"Now it's time to get a bigger production facility to make more gelato," he said.
It will mean more of their homemade gelato at more places.
"Hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, we just started serving at Lucky's Market," explained Gilbert. "Wherever you can put it in a pint or in a dish we are ready to sell it there."
To expand their wholesale operation, the Gilberts are moving that part of their business into an old firehouse in the 2400 block of Portland Avenue.
They are moving to Portland for practical reasons.
"We saw a really solid structure that won't take a lot of construction to get it ready for us," said Gilbert. "It is a really great neighborhood. It has really good points of access for delivery and drop off."
The Gilberts are the first recipients of the Louisville Agri-business Loan Program.
It is designed to assist local food efforts and bring more businesses into the Portland neighborhood.
"There are other businesses already looking at the area and I am fairly certain that I am going to have a neighbor sooner rather than later," said Gilbert.
The Gilberts are getting a $65,000 loan from the city that doesn't have to be paid off for 10 years.
They hope to move existing equipment into the old fire house and have the wholesale operation up and running by mid-summer.
"We signed the lease on the building last week and construction will start virtually any time now," said Gilbert.