Gina Marie: A Full-Service Cold Storage Solutions Provider

There has been an increased demand for additional cold storage space from our food purveyor and warehouse clients. Gina Marie’s team is comprised of experts who have built out new, efficient cold storage environments for more than 30 years. Most recently, the team custom-built a new cold storage warehouse and ice cream processing & production facility all constructed from (IMP) insulated metal panels for Van Leeuwen Ice Cream’s HQ in Brooklyn.

For many Americans, their minds have strayed during the months of the pandemic. Many have fallen out of concentration and into thoughts about whatever concerning topic was covered on the morning’s newscast. However, Dan Rizzo of Gina Marie Doors, has a mind that has not drifted from one particular topic over the last six months.

Call if brain freeze if you must… Rizzo’s had nothing but ice cream on the mind. Back in November 2019, he and his team began planning to customize and restructure cold storage capabilities for Brooklyn ice cream maker, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.

“Ben Van Leeuwen came to me and said, ‘I need to make four times as much ice cream and I need to do it three times as fast,’” recalled Rizzo. “In order to make it happen we needed to look at the logistics of his operation and product storage. Dan Eldon from OM Dean handled the production of the ice cream, I handled the rest with a really fine team of people who were just as committed to making it happen as I was.”

Gina Marie’s team set plans for weekly project committee meetings and scheduled nearly every trade the job required in order to customize Van Leeuwen’s HQ in Brooklyn, NY into a more efficient ice cream-making facility.

Planning and communication were most important for this one: “No secrets here, because we’re building this plane while we’re flying it,” explained Rizzo. “The client was committed to getting his product to customers just as fast as his team was making the ice cream. The planning around the shutdown was so critical because we wanted the Van Leeuwen team to make as much ice cream as they could while we worked in other areas not to effect their sealed-off production.”

“After 30 years in the field, I felt like I designed one of the best teams ever, made up of folks that are committed to service like me,” said Rizzo. “From the mechanical engineers, the general contractor, the air quality and duct guy, the plumber, boiler and pipe insulator guy, roof steel guy, crane guy… And we’re still not done! So many details that kept showing up everywhere and we created a solution together through solid communication.”

Gina Marie just finished cutting insulated, white vinyl and laminated metal panel that has wash down capabilities to fit the space in Brooklyn. Simultaneously, Van Leeuwen’s team had moved their ice cream production upstate as the Gina Marie crew finished the new cold storage areas. Dan Rizzo and the cold storage medics prescribed extra-durable, custom-bent aluminum plating, doorway protection, and color coordinated it to the Van Leeuwen theme (white paneling, blue doorway protections, and red floors). 

In total the project will take a full year and will cover a vast array of Gina Marie’s cold storage services. COVID has only added to the necessity of Rizzo’s cold storage solutions as he’s had to keep the construction sterilized as well.

“The place is so clean it could be set up as an emergency room,” Rizzo laughed.

Despite his unwavering ice cream concentration, Rizzo has also made time to begin cold storage projects for White Claw Hard Seltzer in Hillside, NJ and the DHL-USA Shipping Wine Cooler in Philadelphia. Tall orders too…

White Claw’s facility employed Rizzo to create four 100’ long, 40’ high, and 25’ wide cold storage boxes. What’s more, the location also needed a new air flow pattern to assist with removal of heat for the refrigerator condensing units mounted above the cold storage boxes.

“The Construction team didn’t have time to call in an engineer. So, I created the vision and concept with the equipment that they already had on site. I drew it out on my iPad and the duct and mechanical guys took over,” said Rizzo. “They were so grateful because I literally saved them $5,000 in engineering fees and figured it out in less than an hour.”

On the other hand, Rizzo’s team is helping to create a new wine cooler for DHL Wine in Philadelphia. Sitting at 77’ long, 33’ high, and 26’ wide, this wine cooler was a project that involved the Union Carpenters 158 and Steam Fitters 420. Working alongside Gina Marie, the teams installed a speed fabric door that was 15’ tall and 9’ wide. What’s more, the new wine cooler evaporator blowers were protected with specialty-designed, upside-down goalie cage(s) to protect from forklift traffic.

Rizzo explained that each job usually requires some custom aspect based on the specific needs of the business or company’s location. He went on to highlight two recently-completed cold storage jobs for Cool Vines Wine & Spirits in Jersey City & Newark, NJ as well as Spirits Unlimited in Howell, NJ.

“Cool Vines was at 350 Warren Street, Jersey City and 620 Broad St, Newark. We did a custom cheese case, created beer taps through the wall of the cold storage panel, as well as glass door walk-in refrigerator,” said Rizzo proudly.

“And at Spirits Unlimited we upgraded their display cases and doors. We put in 24 glass doors for a 62’ cold storage panel where we joined to the back of a pre-existing cooler and created passageways from old cooler to new cooler,” said Rizzo. “We also put in gravity-fed shelving that when empty, the six pack of Bud feeds in. And if it needs to be restocked, the employee can see this from the backside. The shelves always look neat and stocked, the employees are freed up because they don’t need to go in from the front to check it, and they don’t have to open the door in the front so the new shelving saves energy.”

Rizzo and the rest of the Gina Marie team provide services that not only fix a business’s current issue, but also have compounding implications that prevent future problems. It will be interesting to see how Rizzo uses 30 years of field experience to solve cold storage issues for Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream HQ, White Claw’s Seltzer-synthesizing facility, and DHL’s (very large) wine cooler. Stay tuned for the next Gina Marie project update—projected publishing date contingent on timely project completion.