Ice Cream Chain Has Sales Growth Down Cold
By George Anderson
Cold Stone Creamery made an important discovery in Alaska back in 1999. It doesn’t take warm weather to sell its high-end ice cream, only consistently excellent product quality
and the right people behind the counter.
In the past six years, Cold Stone has gone from 75 stores to roughly 1,100 with a new location opening on almost a daily basis.
The company’s chief executive, Doug Ducey, told The Associated Press that a persistent Anchorage, Alaska native seeking a franchise finally convinced the company to take
a chance on the northernmost state and its performance gave the company the confidence it needed to expand beyond warm weather havens such as Arizona and California.
An impressive aspect of Cold Stone’s growth, according to analysts, is that it has prospered at a time when ice cream consumption is flat or down in many markets across the country.
Sales of ice cream in supermarkets have been down six to seven percent over the last couple of years, according to Jerry Dwyer, a dairy industry analyst.
Those bucking the trend seem to be shops catering to more upscale tastes, if not consumers, said Mr. Dwyer. Ben & Jerry’s and Marble Slab Creamery are two other companies
that have seen sales increase.
While Cold Stone offers basic ice cream flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate, what makes it different are choices like ginger wasabi and fruit cereal ice cream. “Customers,”
reports AP, “then choose from dozens of different fruits, syrups, candies and nuts that are mixed into the freshly made ice cream on a frosty slab of granite.”
Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of Cold Stone Creamery? Does the current business and marketing/merchandising of the company provide it
with a sustainable point of difference versus those businesses competing for the same consumer market?
– George Anderson – Moderator