By Ryan Cornell
A new ice cream and frozen yogurt shop is expected to open at the Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester later this fall.
Panda Ice Cream & Greek Yogurt, a new franchise founded by Winchester resident Harry Gormas, will offer four soft-serve frozen yogurt machines, a toppings bar and a selection of Hershey's hand-dipped ice cream.
Occupying nearly 1,000 square feet, the shop will be located in the mall's food court in the vacant section between Roman Delight and the restrooms. It would also share the food court with Panda Express, though the two businesses are unrelated.
"There's a high volume, action every day, a constant flow of people eating something," Gormas said. "Pretzels, cinnamon buns, people constantly eating and the theater helps a lot. People will probably eat a little something before they go in and something when they come out."
He said he is in the process of finalizing plans and gathering bids for contractors, and hopes to open Panda Ice Cream & Greek Yogurt in August.
A former Florida real estate developer and the founder of Durty Harry's Sports Bar & Grill, Gormas said the inspiration for the Panda brand came from a longtime appreciation for the bear.
Describing pandas as friendlier than grizzlies and nicer than polar bears, he said he still has a photo of one that he's kept for the past half-decade, since being given a panda bear calendar from a Chinese restaurant in Rhode Island.
Another two pandas named Zelda and Stanley, clutching ice cream cones in their paws, make up his franchise's logo.
Hershey's ice cream is not affiliated with Hershey's chocolate.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org