To celebrate the first day of summer, the Dan Hozhabri Group bought ice cream for anyone headed to Jimmie Cone in Mount Airy on Thursday, June 21.
Samantha Heflin and Michaela Cooley, both 20-year-old residents of Frederick County, stood in a long line outside Jimmie Cone in Mount Airy with Heflin’s 4-month-old son Elliott in tow wearing his baby sunglasses.
They were just three of the hundreds of people to come out to the local ice cream shop on Main Street on Thursday to celebrate the first day of summer with free ice cream, courtesy of real estate agent and Mount Airy resident Dan Hozhabri and his team.
“I didn’t know it was the first day of summer,” Cooley said while standing in line. “I’m a preschool teacher; so, of course, I know it’s summer though.”
Heflin, an assistant at a day care center, said she spent the first day of summer working.
They both found out about the free ice cream event through a group for young mothers in Frederick and, as they waited for their ice cream, Heflin explained little Elliott wouldn’t partake.
At the picnic tables farthest from Jimmie’s ice cream window, 5-year-old triplets Everly, Vincent and Trent Stanaway enjoyed cups of chocolate ice cream with their grandmother, Karen Mathis.
“My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate,” said Vincent, with melted chocolate ice cream on his face and hands.
The siblings just graduated to kindergarten at Oakdale Elementary School in Frederick, and Everly said the trio saw a sign advertising the free ice cream event the last time they were at Jimmie Cone with their parents.
“I think it’s great,” Mathis said. “I’ve never heard of something like this, but I think they’ve done it before.”
Mathis was right. This is the second year the Dan Hozhabri Group has offered the free ice cream event at Jimmie Cone. The community outreach event comes in addition to its Bark in the Park event this past May and renting out a movie theater each January.
“A big part of what our mission is, is giving back,” Hozhabri said Thursday in between greeting friends and passersby. “Why not do something that gives back to the community?
“We are a word-of-mouth company. We thought why not invite people to come out for some free ice cream?” he said. “But we aren’t doing it for recognition. It’s to show we walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”
Hozhabri had another reason to celebrate on Thursday. His group had just signed the lease agreement for a second location in Mount Airy, in addition to the space they currently operate out of in Frederick.
“We want to be more centrally located and present,” he said.
“I’m here celebrating the first day of summer with all these kids,” she said, pointing to her grandchildren, Maiyah, 6, Micah, 9, and Noah, 10, who were slurping down melting ice cream faster than the line grew past their table.
“We actually know the Realtor guy,” she said, “because [their] parents bought a house from him in Ijamsville.”
Kennedy and the kids heard about the event on Facebook, with a post that real estate agent Meg Stuart, of the Dan Hozhabri Group, said reached more than 18,000 people since it first went out.
“It’s really hot right now,” Stuart said to the long line in her bright red T-shirt on Thursday afternoon, “but it’ll be so worth it when you are eating ice cream on someone else’s dime!”