Crazy Ice Cream Chain Branches Out
Combining the novelty of “highly decorated” ice cream stores, model trains and see-through bathroom doors, Florida-based Sloan’s Ice Cream is on the cusp of major expansion in the United States, Kuwait and Dubai.
“Everything is hand painted, the ceiling, the walls, angels on the ceiling with candy and wreaths—it’s highly decorated,” said Sloan Kamenstein, company president and founder. “We tried to make the stores very unusual and more of an experience, not just like your everyday ice cream store.”
Kamenstein added that every location has at least one model train motoring around to excite visiting train enthusiasts—be they kids, old timers or train-obsessed journalists, for example.
Another detail that’s received a lot of press, including an old Travel Channel feature that still gets mentions from customers, are see-through bathroom doors that instantly fog up when the door is locked, which understandably creates a lot of discussion in the stores.
“The kids go in there and they’re locking and unlocking the handle—everybody just really loves it,” Kamenstein said. “Occasionally somebody goes in that doesn’t mind that it’s clear—that’s another issue.”
Being at the helm of such a colorful ice cream store is no surprise for the company’s founder, as walks home from school when he was a kid involved a stop for ice cream nearly every day throughout his childhood.
His family shares in the fun, as his mom focuses on interior design and novelty sales, his sister designed the logo and his dad is the numbers guy behind the expansion.
After opening its first store in 1999 in West Palm Beach, Florida, Sloan’s Ice Cream is up to five corporate units—four in Florida and one in California—and three franchise locations in the same states, with two international deals bringing the brand to Dubai and Kuwait in the coming months. The company also expects to open several additional locations in Northeastern states, particularly New York, New Jersey and Connecticut—where high foot traffic makes up for the seasonal challenges winter presents to the ice cream business.
During the next three months, Sloan’s expects to open three new locations, and certain members at the headquarters are soon packing their bags for the opening of the first location in Kuwait.
Speaking of the company’s budding expansion into the region, Kamenstein said it’s the result of happy customers spreading the word, rather than an explicit focus on opening units in the Middle East.
Regardless of the location, he added that the company has had no struggle attracting franchisee interest.
“We don’t know what to do we’re so busy between the development in the Middle East and California and moving to a new production facility,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of extra time, so yeah, we’re very satisfied with the number of inquiries we have.”