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VOL. 116 | NO. 231 | Monday, December 02, 2002

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The Mid-Souths notably long, hot summer months have begun to increasingly attract the perfect antidote: ice cream shops

What a dish gourmet ice cream hits Memphis

By ANDREW BELL

The Daily News

The Mid-Souths infamous long, hot summer months have begun to increasingly attract the perfect antidote: ice cream shops. But, even as the temperature drops, customers continue to warm up to the slew of new shops popping up around town.

Cold Stone Creamerys franchise store at 1243 Park Ave. in Park Place Center is its third to open in the Memphis area in the past year.

Other stores are located in Southaven, Miss., and near Wolfchase Galleria.

Cold Stone Creamery regional operations director Steve Brewster said Memphians are likely to see additional locations opening soon.

We expect to open a fourth site sometime in the near future in the area, and I dont know how many after that, he said.

The Mid-South is not the only region seeing an abundance of gourmet ice cream shops.

Marble Slab Creamery, which has two stores in the county one in Germantown and another in Cordova has 174 franchises nationwide, with more opening soon.

Both Marble Slab and Cold Stone represent a more sophisticated type of ice cream attraction.

In addition to choosing from as many as 40 flavors of ice cream, customers at these shops can select from a bevy of candy, nuts, cookies or fruit to have folded into their creamy desserts. The concoctions are mixed on frozen granite tables and served in containers of the customers choosing.

MaggieMoos a similar franchise with about 100 stores nationwide has opened stores recently in the Memphis area, as well.

Brewster said Cold Stone has 300 franchises nationwide, with 350 franchises preparing to open.

Our goal is to open 144 franchises this year, and 271 next year, he said.

Cold Stone, based in Tempe, Ariz., has been rated one of the 500 fastest-growing franchise chains in the nation.

Brewster said the company reviews about 1,000 franchise applications a month; new managers attend the companys Ice Cream University in Arizona for training.

At Cold Stone, emphasis is placed on entertaining customers, because serving fresh ice cream as well as taking time to customize each order takes slightly longer than simply scooping ice cream into a waffle cone, Brewster said.

We actually auditioned kids before the hiring process, he said. Every employee will sing for tips. We want to be able to offer something when it gets busy here and the line gets long in the evenings.

The new store, managed by Rachel Dean, will hire up to 25 employees during peak ice cream season, which, of course, in Memphis is summer.

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