State College Rita’s sold, longtime owner to retire

Sometimes the line went out Rita’s door and poured out onto East Beaver Avenue.

The man behind the counter, or maybe restocking the ice, was owner Richard Shore. He recently sold the business to Mike Patel, an out-of-town businessman who will continue to operate Rita’s.

It is Shore’s last week in the shop before he retires.

“I’ve done it for 10 years now, and Rita’s is looking for a 10-year renewal lease,” Shore said. “This February I turned 65 years old, and I decided not to go until I’m 75 years old. It’s time to let someone buy it and renew for another 10 years. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed it. Rita’s is a great product, I worked with great students. It’s been fun to see them grow up and go out on their own. Some have gone as far away as Austria. We got so many great guests and opportunities to do things in the community like Thon.”

The community is what drew Patel to central Pennsylvania as well.

“State College is a good town with a lot of good people,” Patel said. “It’s a good town to raise children, and I have two. They’re 14 and 4 years old. The schools are really good, and there’s a lot of activity, a lot of things you can do. It will be a nice place to live.”

Shore, who opened Rita’s Feb. 16, 2007, is happy the ice and custard will continue to be on tap for customers.

“I knew it was a good product, and a friend of mine and myself decided to buy it,” Shore said. “The company I was with downsized ... our team went from 20 to two, so I decided to do it full time and bought out my partner. I always enjoyed it, and I think Mike will, too. He’s very friendly. I think he’ll keep up the same enthusiasm we’ve always had.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli