First Year In Business Celebrated At Emack & Bolio’s After Transfer Of Ownership

January 19, 2024

From Nurse to Ice Cream Shop Owner — A Successful First Year With a refreshed look and feel, Interior Renovations, Menu Additions

Orah LeHockey, Emack & Bolio'sRewinding back several years, Orah LeHockey was working locally as a nurse full-time. Things changed as her parents who owned New World Bistro Bar at the time which was located on Delaware, were in need of some extra help at the restaurant. Over time she took over many responsibilities there and then started to fall in love with running a small business. Unfortunately, the family eventually closed New World Bistro Bar in the midst of the pandemic.

“I really fell in love with running a small business and being a part of the community in that way,” said LeHockey. “And believe it or not, I’ve always said to myself I would love to own an ice-cream shop.”

Fast forward to Jan. 2023, Orah became owner of Emack & Bolio’s after hearing that its owner Amy Riddell was interested in selling. LeHockey was a frequent customer and fell in love with the place and all the joy it brought she said.

“The thing that drew me to this place is the smell of sweets and happiness evoked from the moment you walk in the door. You can literally make everyone at any age happy with ice cream,” she explained with a laugh.

LeHockey bought the business in January 2023. One year later on Thursday, Jan. 18, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the shop’s first full year in business under the new ownership.

Over the last year since, she’s worked to realize her own vision for Albany’s Emack & Bolio’s. She was a longtime customer at the shop under its former owner, a 1,662 sq. ft. ground-floor commercial space located at 366 Delaware Ave.

The Emack & Bolio’s ice cream brand was founded in Boston in 1975; the Albany store has a licensing agreement to hold the name and carry the ice cream. It opened under Riddell in 2008.

In 2023 LeHockey invested in a redesign of the shop’s interior and right now is working through other needed structural improvements, . The work has included repainting and replacing all of the shops flooring. The refreshed look features new colors, a range of mint-green and lavender. This work was able to be done with a grant award under Capitalize Albany Corporation’s Building Improvement Grant Program which was made possible through the City of Albany’s American Rescue Plan Act funding process.


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Additionally, in June 2023 a new website was launched.

In partnership with Albany Center Gallery, a mural was painted by a local artist last summer which is featured in the shop’s outdoor seating area.

The staple favorite menu items of ice cream, specialty coffees, milkshakes, chocolates, and small gifts haven’t changed.

To bring something new she has been making updates to the pastries and cakes and adding in more local products.

The shop’s specialty waffle cones are still the local favorite she said.

Expanding the Emack & Bolio’s experience, the shop still hosts indoor and outdoor parties, indoor and outdoor live music continues, as well as its ice cream truck.

Emack and Bolio’s Ice Cream Truck is a vintage food truck from 1974. It was repainted to bring out the shop’s funky vibes. It tours all over Albany and the Capital Region in the warmer months, stopping at everything from birthday parties, to weddings and large-scale festivals such as Albany’s Tulip Fest. It’s currently being prepped for a busy season ahead.

“The truck is usually booked all summer long and right now we’re working on some interior upgrades in time for ice cream season,” LeHockey said.

During its busiest months Emack & Bolio’s employs 35 or more people. Emack & Bolio’s is open Tuesday through Sunday starting at 11 a.m. in the winter season. Springtime will bring extended hours for the season. Check the website for current hours.