A new year and a new owner will bring a fresh look to Stucchi’s on South State Street.

Local businessman Jim Seta bought the Stucchi’s location last month. Seta, who also owns the Dexter Stucchi’s, said while “renovate is a strong word,” big changes are taking place at the shop to encourage community building including alterations to the store’s interior and the introduction of new products.

Seta said he felt the old interior of the store “wasn’t as welcoming as it should be,” and the remodeling plan aims to include an Ann Arbor-themed mural near the front of the store and chalkboards for customers to draw on.

Another addition is a multi-colored sprinkle bar for customers to enhance their ice cream treats. Seta added that the sprinkle bar is free when it’s sprinkling outside, to create an incentive for customers to purchase ice cream on rainy days.

Ultimately, Seta said all of the changes are part of an effort to make Stucchi’s more community-oriented, like it was when the company was founded in Ann Arbor more than two decades ago.

He added that the State Street location has not been as successful as his Dexter store in building a community feel, and he plans to improve the stores visibility in the area.

“Our philosophy is to ingrain ourselves in the community,” Seta said.

In addition to the design changes, the store will offer a selection of chocolates from the Gaylord-based Alpine Chocolate Haus. Smoothie, malt and shake options will also be expanded, and Seta hinted that a coffee line may also soon be available at the store.

Seta said all the changes will be exclusive to the State Street location, adding that the refurbished store will be formally unveiled at a “Grand Re-Opening” in March.

Matthew Arthur, owner of the neighboring Ben & Jerry’s store, wrote in an e-mail that he has owned the State Street franchise for six years, and is not worried that the renovations to Stucchi’s will deter customers from visiting his store.

“We have always kept our store up to date to keep up with the times and keep a fresh clean look,” Arthur wrote.

Arthur added that Ben & Jerry’s recently received new paint and more energy-efficient lighting. TVs and new artwork will also be installed in the future, he wrote.

Regardless of aesthetic and menu changes, LSA freshman Chelsea Cole said she has preferred Stucchi’s over Ben & Jerry’s when choosing where to purchase ice cream on State Street.

“I’ve never been a big fan of Ben & Jerry’s,” she said. “I’d rather support something Michigan-based than a huge chain.”

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