Foggy Bottom staple Cone E. Island is set to close its doors after almost 30 years at The Shops at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, confirms majority owner Susan Rubin.
Cone E. Island will close March 31, 2014 after a lease agreement could not be reached with the George Washington University.
“We are very sad that we were not able to work something out with the University… Basically we are being kicked out,” Rubin said.
Cone E. Island owes “a huge backload in rent” after over 25 years of strong business in the shops.
Rubin attributes the decline in profits to the struggling economy a few years ago and poor management of the shops, owned by the George Washington University.
The shops have seen a “huge decline in traffic” and have refused to make the location WiFi accessible, Rubin said.
The ice cream shop has become a Foggy Bottom landmark since moving into their Foggy Bottom location in 1984 and has close ties to George Washington.
The shop only employs GW students and is a favorite late-night destination, staying open until midnight every night of the week.
General manager and part-owner Noel “June” Esmilla has worked at the store since immigrating to the United States from the Phillipines 27 years ago.
Only a week after arriving in America, Esmilla found employment with Cone E. Island and worked his way up from a mopper who spoke no English to part-owner of the shop.
“I love being with the students. It’s my life here,” said an emotional Esmilla.
While the majority owner of the shop, Rubin, does not plan to reopen the shop at another location, Esmilla says he would be interested in doing so after taking some time off with family.
His message to students? “Thank you guys, I’m still smiling,” he said with tears swelling in his eyes.
General Manager of The Shops at 2000 Penn, Paul Sheridan, declined to comment and instead referred all requests to GW Media Relations.
GW Media Relations could not be reached at time of publication.