An ice cream shop in West Orange mourns the death of its beloved founder

WEST ORANGE, NJ — A popular ice cream shop in West Orange had sad news to share on Friday: One of its founders passed away.

The new owners of Mark & ​​Julie’s Homemade Ice Cream posted the following message on Facebook about the passing of well-respected local businessman, Mark Orenstein:

“We are sad to share that Mark, the founder of our shop, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday, according to his wife Julie. The first day we personally met Mark, after years of admiring his work and competition, we immediately clicked realizing the same guy started us in the ice cream business, we remembered our favorite marshmallow fluff you couldn’t buy anymore, and soon were talking about traveling Europe, our favorite pasta in Rome, our love of food, and finding killer restaurants off the beaten path. In just one conversation, I saw and experienced the contagious personality that so many people came to know and love when they walked into his store on Pleasant Valley Way, and why so many people truly felt like family. Early in the summer, Mark and his family bought a bunch of pints for a dinner party, and his call to tell me they loved everything and to compliment a new flavor we introduced, meant more to us than we could never express it with words. Our prayers go out to Julie and her family during this time. »

After Mark was diagnosed with cancer, the Orensteins sold the store to Mike and Bre Guerriero, who also own an ice cream shop in Caldwell. They further explained the decision in a March Facebook post, which read:

“To all our Facebook friends and family! It is with a heavy heart that due to our ongoing health issues, we had to make the difficult decision to sell our store. As you know, Mark has been battling cancer and undergoing aggressive treatment for the past year, and I’ve been dealing with my own health issues. We’ve decided it’s best for us to focus on our health, spend time together, and let someone who can dedicate the time needed to run this business and “carry the torch.”

“Mark and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported us over the past 27 years. Some of you have come to our store as young children with your families, now with your own children. Some are Came here on your first date, brought your kids for ice cream and are now bringing your grandkids in. It’s been such a treat to see everyone grow over the years and although life changes, ice cream helps bring out the child in all of us.

“The last two years in the face of the pandemic have been difficult for everyone and we appreciate all of your support.

“All the people who reached out to offer prayers and wishes for Mark’s health, the hundreds of comments we received on Facebook, the e-card we received curated by WOHS teacher Peter Tourian and signed by so many students, the giant Girl Scout Troop 20056 card and other Get-Well cards, customers who call, text and check in have meant the world to us, and you have all become our family We hope we impacted your life as much as you impacted ours.

“Mike, his wife Bre and their adorable daughter Vincenza will take over Mark & ​​Julie’s Ice Cream. They have a lot of experience in the ice cream and cake business, but what matters most is that they love the store as much as we do. They will keep our name, our flavors, our recipes and also bring other exciting products, but more importantly they will carry on our legacy. They want nothing more than to meet you and keep your favorite ice cream shop for future generations!We hope you will give them a chance as it was hard for us to let this place go, it has been our second home for over 27 years but meeting this family we knew they would be perfect. ”

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