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With a Whoosh, Sub Zero Creates Spectacle and a Treat


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Jerry and Naomi Hancock are founders of Sub Zero Ice Cream and presented at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference, which ends today at noon.

“I’ve been waiting for this presentation all day,” said a man in the front row as SubZero Ice Cream founders Jerry and Naomi Hancock hauled in their equipment—three gallons of cream, a stainless steel bowl, a big blue cooler on wheels and, most unusually, a 50-liter tank of liquid nitrogen at a cool minus-350 degrees F, at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.

Their concept is SubZero and their slogan is “re-inventing ice cream since 2005,”and they make the ice cream right before audience’s eyes, whether at a conference or in their stores.

They started franchising in 2008, and shortly afterward went on "Shark Tank." “We’re asking for $300,000 for 12 percent of our business,” said Naomi on the video.“We make frozen desserts in front of you. You have fresh, frozen, custom ice cream within one minute.”

Whoooooosh, goes the nitrogen, which they spew onto the judges, and at the same time they do the same thing to the crowd at the conference. (They didn’t get a deal on "Shark Tank," but the judges—and the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference attendees—did react with laughter to the experience.)

Systemwide sales are $9.7 million, and their top three stores posted $665,326 in average unit volumes. They have 56 locations open, and expect to grow by 15 to 20 stores per year.

The mobile aspect is an “unlimited” opportunity, Jerry says, “based on what the franchisee wants to go out and get.” They emphasize STEM education, or science, technology, engineering and math. “So nitrogen is an element, it comes from the atmosphere. And because it’s STEM education, there’s plenty of money in the schools to pay for it,”Jerry says.

And then they got to the best part of the presentation. “We’re going to make some ice cream,” and after whooshing the liquid nitrogen into the cream to quickly freeze it, they squirt strawberry, cheesecake, caramel and amaretto into the bowl. Voila! The promise of a delicious treat to end the day was in our hands.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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