Iorio’s Gelateria, on the first floor of the Maynard House apartment building, is owned by brother and sister Nick and Mary Lemmer, twenty and twenty-three, respectively. If you think that sounds young, they’ve actually been business partners since 2004–when Nick was in eighth grade and Mary was in tenth.

Iorio was their Italian grandmother’s maiden name, but the business was their dad’s idea. “As a family we’d go out to the East Coast every summer,” Nick explains. “Italian ice is very popular out there. And we’d come back to [Lansing] Michigan for the rest of the year and we’d say, ‘Dad, where’s the Italian ice. How can we get it here?’ And dad, being himself, said, ‘Well you guys gotta do it–you guys gotta bring Italian ice to Michigan.”

Mary got hold of two push carts and lined up an Italian ice supplier, and they were in business, selling at fairs and ball games and catering events within a hundred miles of Lansing. In 2008, they added a year-round stand in the Lansing City market to sell gelato–which is like ice cream, but made with milk.

The Ann Arbor store sells gelatos and sorbettos, a denser cousin of Italian ices. “What we wanted to do in Ann Arbor is create an authentic Italian gelateria experience,” Mary explains–and that wouldn’t include Italian ice because Italian gelaterias don’t carry it. (Italian Americans in New York City developed it in the 1920s.)

Alice Lemmer, Nick and Mary’s mom, is minding the Lansing operation while the siblings and former Lansing staffer Shawn Targosz get the Ann Arbor branch up and running. They need Shawn’s help because Nick is still in college: he’s a U-M junior studying industrial operations. Mary, who has a bachelor’s in business from the U-M, works full time as a financial analyst.

Their Lansing-area supplier can make more than 500 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, but Iorio’s will only have twenty-four on hand at any one time. Nick’s favorite gelatos are roasted pistachio and stracciatella, which he describes as a vanilla chocolate chip, “but not big chunks, it’s chocolate shreddings.” Other flavors include white chocolate strawberry cheese cake, roasted garlic white chocolate, and chocolate bourbon bacon fudge. Sorbetto flavors include blood orange, papaya, melon, pomegranate, and plum. Prices start at $3.25 for a small dish or a regular cone; they hope to add waffle cones soon.

Iorio’s Gelateria, 522 East William, (202) 643-5286. Mon.-Sat., noon-11 p.m., Sun. noon-8 p.m.