Being frequent customers at Bruster’s Ice Cream in Canton, GA, Andrew Rowe’s family decided to sell their home and open the franchise in Athens after finding out that there wasn’t a location in the Classic City.
As reported in The Red & Black, the new Bruster’s ice cream shop will be off Epps Bridge Parkway and will be family-run. Rowe and his family — Pam, Natalie, and Alex Rowe — have plans to open the store this summer.
After much discussion with his daughter, Rowe thought Bruster’s was the best franchise for his family to work with.
“When I attended school here, there was not a Bruster’s in Athens, and I had talked to my friends and coworkers at that time, and they had mentioned that there was previously a Bruster’s in Athens years ago,” Natalie Rowe said.
Having worked in the corporate world for three decades, opening a Bruster’s has been an eye-opening experience for Rowe as he and his family went through the process of researching financial aspects including an estimate of the store's success and the process of acquiring real estate and finding a location.
The Rowes signed the contract to open a location of the franchise at the end of 2017.
Rowe said he thought the store would open earlier, and finding a location with a drive through and the right traffic was challenging.
Set to attend training at the Bruster’s headquarters in May, Rowe said most people don’t realize ice cream in Bruster’s is made fresh every day, and the Rowe family will have to learn how to serve and make the ice cream themselves.
“We’ll be certified ice cream makers,” Rowe said.
Although there have been some Bruster’s closings across the country in the last five years, Rowe isn’t worried about it.
“There’s always turnover in franchises, and things like that, and as I learned this, a lot of it has to do with the location you select and the type of store you open,” Rowe said.
Rowe said Bruster's is expanding to new markets, and there are nearly 200 stores open, with less than 60 in Georgia.
“I asked that question, I said, ‘Well, why is it so successful in Georgia?’ And the response I kept getting was, ‘The people in Georgia just love our ice cream,’” Rowe said.
With construction having started in January, the timeframe for opening is June.
The Bruster’s location plans on offering special promotions, such as Free Doggy Sundae and PJs day.
Rowe said he believes most of his employees will be high schoolers or UGA students.
Sophomore entertainment and media studies major Mollie Schilling is from Blairsville, Georgia said her hometown didn’t have a Bruster's location.
“I think it’s a good idea, and I might go to it because I like ice cream, and I like to try new things,” Schilling said.
Even though Rowe and his daughter are both UGA alumni, Rowe said he hasn’t lived in Athens since the mid-1980s.
“We got to learn Athens again, participate in the community, get to know folks out here, attend a lot of the athletic events [and] the cultural events,” Rowe said.
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