Reporter's Notebook

Wonka-esque Sloan's Ice Cream cites lofty growth goals

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A warm slice of apple pie topped with rich, cool, melt-y vanilla ice cream.

That’s pretty much all I can think about after reading Sloan’s Ice Cream’s most-recent press release, which briefly mentions the brand’s apple pie-flavored ice cream with apple pie mixed in.

How do they make apple-pie flavored ice cream? I’m not sure, exactly. But the brand is hoping lots of customers from across the U.S. will fawn for it and other treats in the years ahead.

Sloan’s Ice Cream shops are designed to evoke Willy Wonka. They’re brightly colored and full of sweet treats, including made-in-house chocolates, candies, cookies, brownies and, of course, ice cream. They offer a variety of options to nix that pesky “veto” vote when going out with friends—there’s a little something for everybody, they claim.

And according to its director of franchising David Wild, the Palm Beach, Fla.-based brand wants to add 200 franchised units within the next five to seven years.

Yes, you read that right: 200.

While it’s not unusual for restaurateurs to cite lofty expansion goals, it certainly helps to have a strategic growth plan in place. Sloan’s has one, and as part of it the company signed its first and only Southern California franchisee earlier this week.

The franchisee is Larry Greenberg, a business owner who already has seven Edible Arrangements locations, Wild said. Per the agreement, Greenberg will open five Sloan’s locations in Los Angeles and San Diego during the next three and a half years.

“It could very well be faster than that,” Wild added. “He has a really great grasp of that area.”

Five isn’t quite 200, but it’s a promising start in a big, warm, ice cream-loving market. As a specialty brand, Sloan’s is focusing on metropolitan markets with significant wealth and good weather.

“The Southern California market has a lot of similarities to Southern Florida,” Wild said. “You can eat ice cream all year long.”

Other target markets for the brands are cold and hot spots: New York, Texas, Atlanta, Northern California and Chicago, he said. The chain currently has four units, all of which are in Florida.

One of the differentiators for Sloan’s is its founder: Sloan Kamenstein, a classically trained chef. He founded the first Sloan’s location in 1999.

“We created Sloan’s to be a dreamland for everyone, kids and adults of all ages, and our focus has never changed,” Kamenstein said of the brand in a statement. “One taste, sniff and glimpse of Sloan’s sends the senses soaring. The time has come to share Sloan’syumminess beyond South Florida and we’re thrilled about adding our first stores in California.”

Flowery marketing language, yes, but I’m buying it. It will be interesting to see what this little ice cream chain can achieve during the next five years.

And as for that apple pie-flavored, dreamy-sounding ice cream?

Not gonna lie: I still want a scoop. And it’s 20 degrees out in New York City.

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Reporter's Notebook is NRN's newsroom blog, where our editors give their points of view on news happening in the restaurant business.

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