Guam ice-cream lovers are in for a treat with the mid-July opening of Cold Stone Creamery at the Guam Premier Outlets.

Ernesto V. “Jun” Espaldon and Sumiko D. Espaldon are co-managers and franchise owners for the island’s newest taste franchise. Espaldon told the Journal “What better business to be in than the ice cream business. It’s a happy and fun place to be and it doesn’t seem like work because people are always smiling.”

Sumiko Espaldon described the Cold Stone experience as unique from start to finish. “Cold Stone Creamery lets consumers enjoy super premium ice cream and Italian sorbet made fresh on-site every day with their choice of countless mix-in combinations. It would take a dozen lifetimes to try them all.”

Husband Jun Espaldon described the process. “Consumers simply choose their fresh ice cream or Italian sorbet and select their mix-ins. From there the Cold Stone Creamery crew member folds the customer’s mix-in selections into the creamy confection on a granite stone chilled to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting creation is scooped into a fresh baked home-made waffle cone or waffle bowl — and presented to the consumer as the ultimate ice cream indulgence.”

Kevin Donnellan corporate communications manager for Cold Stone said there are 575 Cold Stone Creamery stores in the U.S. and the Caribbean. “We are looking forward to the Espaldons bringing the ultimate ice cream experience to Guam later this year.”

Donnellan said the founding Cold Stone Creamery store opened in 1988 in Tempe Arizona. “We’ve been awarding successful franchises since 1995. More than 600 stores have already opened and another 700 have been awarded taking Cold Stone Creamery into 46 states the Caribbean and the soon-to-be-opened store on Guam.”

In 2004 Cold Stone was ranked No. 25 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 fastest growing franchises. An initial franchise fee is $35 000 [$40 000 in the New York metro area] with a total investment of between $257 335 and $366 670. In 2003 23 000 franchise applications were received with less than 2% actually being awarded. “Cold Stone is committed to having 1 000 profitable stores operating by Dec. 31 2004 ” Donnellan said.

“We have agreed with Guam Premier Outlets on a 1000-square-foot store right outside the food court near the Wallace Theatres. GPO was and continues to be supportive of this venture and we thank them for seeing this vision with us ” Jun Espaldon said.

“Sumiko Espaldon said atmosphere was important to Cold Stone. “A key component to Cold Stone Creamery is that it is supposed to be a happy place. Once you get your ice cream with a smile and good service then we add a little novelty. When a customer places a tip in the jar the staff sing’ a Cold Stone jingle for the customers from our list of old-time favorite songs with a Cold Stone twist. It’s fun and customers will have to visit us to see hear and above all taste what we are going to offer the people of Guam and to our visitors from other countries.”

Jun Espaldon said that unlike many franchises that didn’t respond or responded negatively to his requests to consider Guam for development Len and Karen Ryder Cold Stone Creamery area developers were responsive interested and optimistic about Guam as a market. “After I paid a visit and received a warm welcome and terrific study tour by the Ryders and the Hawaii franchisees Len Ryder then came to Guam to get a better feel for the island and gain first-hand information. I respected the interest he showed for our island and its potential.”

The best-selling Cold Stone flavor was comprised of perennial favorite flavors chocolate and peanut butter. Donnellan said “The No.1 Cold Stone original is Peanut Butter Perfection made with chocolate ice cream with peanut butter Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and fudge.”

Cold Stone Creamery leads all other super-premium ice-cream concepts with stores averaging nearly $380 000 in annual sales. “We are registered nationally with the Small Business Administration which means that it is easier and faster to obtain funding ” Donnellan said.

Cold Stone Creamery Guam will be Cold Stone’s most westward location. Donnellan said that there has been a tremendous number of inquiries and applications from international locations which Cold Stone is seriously evaluating for future development and expansion. MBJ