SANTA ROSA (KRQE) – A historic New Mexico glacier hit hard by the pandemic is now getting help from a well-known brand of ice cream to stay afloat. It could also mean free ice cream for you. “Bill’s Place was the place to go in downtown Santa Rosa,” says Joe Esquibel, owner of Bill’s Place.
A historic family-owned glacier hopes to stand the test of time. “For many generations, before school at lunch and after school, this was the place to go. Bill’s Place has always had its ice cream, its chili dogs, its sandwiches, ”says Esquibel.
Joe Esquibel’s family have owned and operated the glacier since 1947. They also operate the local radio station KSSR 95.5 FM in the same building. “My parents took turns running the business, my grandparents took turns running the business and now it’s the grandchildren,” says Esquibel.
Bill’s Place closed in the mid-90s, but the family decided to bring the downtown treasure back in 2019 as part of efforts to revitalize downtown Santa Rosa. “And it started well for 7-8 months and sure enough COVID happened, so for the last 17 months we’ve been a struggling business,” Esquibel said.
Now Blue Bunny Ice Cream is helping the business make another comeback, the company awarded Bill’s Place a $ 5,000 grant as part of its Heart of Fun contest. “We ended up being one of the finalists and we’re very lucky for that,” Esquibel said.
Esquibel says they plan to use this much needed boost to revitalize the downtown area. “We want to give life and love back to our community,” says Esquibel. In addition to the $ 5,000, Blue Bunny will have a $ 1,000 tab open on Friday at Bill’s Place, so people can come pick up free ice cream while the tab lasts.