Sloan’s Ice Cream is going national.
The hot-pink ice cream parlor last year developed a franchise program in a bid to offer the signature range of sweets and treats, plus its voyeuristic bathroom doors, to entrepreneurs nationwide.
Reaction has been robust.
The company has sold six units in California. Five are in southern California and one is in northern California, said owner Sloan Kamenstein.
Closer to home, 10 units in South Florida were sold to a Boca Raton entrepreneur named David Olmo, whom Kamenstein said has been a customer for years.
Sloan’s already has four locations in Palm Beach County. It has a flagship store on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, which opened in 1999; a store at CityPlace, also in West Palm Beach; a location at Boca Raton’s Mizner Park; and a store at Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens.
Another store is in the works for Delray Beach. Sloan Kamenstein said the other franchised South Florida stores are likely to be in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, plus one in Key West.
In fact, plans are to have Olmo open one or two new South Florida stores by October or November, said David Wise, Sloan’s director of franchising.
Sloan’s helps franchisees find locations, which must have heavy foot traffic, whether it’s in an open-air shopping center, such as CityPlace, or a funky urban biway, such as Clematis Street.
Other stores are planned for other parts of the country, too. Wise said there is interest in New York, Chicago, Texas and Las Vegas, among other locations.
Buying a Sloan’s franchise requires money, passion and business acumen. Each franchised store costs between $600,000 to $900,000, which includes store build-out, training and support. The average size of the stores is about 2,000 square feet.
And yes, each store will have the signature see-through bathroom doors. (Once the handle is turned, the door fogs up and provides privacy.) Each store also features visually catchy finishes, such as moving model trains, bulk candy and multi-colored chandeliers. Of course, there’s also the ice cream, which Kamenstein said is homemade.
Kamenstein said he’s looking forward to the changes coming to CityPlace, including the arrival of fashion hotspot H&M this year. He’s also not concerned about Barnes & Noble Booksellers being replaced by an L.A. Fitness gym.
In Kamenstein’s view, people who work out and have sweated off some calories “feel better about eating ice cream.”
In other franchise news, look for new Italian eateries coming to Palm Beach County. Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen and Russo’s New York Pizzeria, based in Houston, are planing to expand both concepts to the area.
Founder Anthony Russo, whose family hails from New York, said his restaurants are known for featuring fresh ingredients, which he thinks will go over well with Palm Beach County residents who “have a knack for identifying quality food.”
Russo said he’s in talks with a number of entrepreneurs and is shopping sites in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Jupiter and Palm Beach. Russo is targeting high-end strip malls and shopping destinations with high traffic. The company’s first Palm Beach County location of one of those concepts is expected within the year. Plans are to have six Russo’s restaurants in the county within the next five years.
Other potential Florida markets include Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
The company has one existing Italian Kitchen in Pembroke Pines, but it has stores in several southern states, including Texas, Tenn, Oklahoma and Arkansas. International locations are opening, too, in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.
The Old Calypso restaurant on the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach quietly is being shopped for sale — and the waterfront eatery has attracted the attention of at least one national restaurant company.
The venerable Houston’s restaurant checked out the Old Calypso space, located on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway, south of Atlantic Avenue.
(Word is Houston’s also checked out the city of Boca Raton’s Wildflower site, also on the Intracoastal, but talks did not advance.)
Alas for Houston’s lovers, there’s no deal for Old Calypso, said Bill Biel, a vice president of California-based Hillstone Restaurant Group, Houston’s parent company.
“It was presented to us,” Biel said. But a deal for Old Calypso “is not the case.”
Biel did note that Houston’s keeps a keen eye on the Palm Beach County market, especially since its Palm Beach restaurant, known as the Palm Beach Grill, does so well.
“There are no imminent plans” for another restaurant in Palm Beach County, Biel added, “but we’re watching it.”
Calypso owner Tom Blum did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.