Students showcase leadership with family businesses: Nicolas Borbolla, Gelataio

Written by Amanda Lee

Junior Nicolas Borbolla’s family owns the popular downtown gelato shop, Gelataio. His parents started the dessert business together in 2014 and Borbolla occasionally works in the store. He says that having a family business showed him how hard it is to start a company. “It’s given me an insight as to what it’s like to build a business from nothing and how much hard work and dedication it takes,” he said. “It’s been really eye-opening.”

Borbolla’s parents often have to work long hours at the shop, something that has impacted family life. “It wasn’t that great, but now that we got more people working at the store, they definitely come home more,” he said. “It’s calmed down and we got it all figured out.”

However, Borbolla also has memories of spending quality time with his family at Gelataio. “Before the store was built and we were there building the furniture and everything, that was a lot of family bonding time, because it was just the five of us and we were just working on IKEA furniture,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Borbolla said that working in the family store has also inspired his friends to get their own jobs. “I think [having a friend who works at his family store] impacts them more than me because having a friend whose family owns a gelato business really makes them more comfortable with finding a job,” he said. “It kind of encourages them to go out and get a job and I think that’s really cool.”

Even though Borbolla enjoys working in the store, he doesn’t believe he will be interested in taking over the business one day, as he is hoping to follow other goals. “For multiple reasons, especially because it requires a lot of passion and a lot of gelato-making and that’s something that my stepmom has and something I don’t really have,” he said. “I have other things that I want to pursue in life.”

Regardless, his favorite part about having a family business is being able to interact with the daily patrons. “I love working there because you meet so many interesting customers and people who go in to enjoy the gelato,” Borbolla said. “It’s also really nice when families come in and you see them leave with a bigger smile on their faces than when they came in. It’s cool to have your friends come by and visit you and it’s just a lot of working there for me; that’s probably the most enjoyable part.”

Gelataio is located at 121 Lytton Ave. For more information about the menu and store hours, visit