People love ice cream parlors for various reasons. Many enjoy nostalgic glimpses of the past through the traditional decor and a cozy ambiance of ice cream parlors. Some parlors attract guests in other ways, with modern design or bold flavors. Whatever your preference, when it comes to ice cream parlors, opening one of your own may be easier than you think. If you are thinking about opening an ice cream parlor, consider the following five steps.
Structuring your ice cream parlor
The first step to opening your store should be confirming a business structure with a public accountant. It is best to find an accountant experienced in dealing with niche retail businesses. A few common business structures include sole proprietorships, cooperatives, and limited liability companies. Also, you need to meet with a commercial insurance company, preferably with liability and retail experience.
Obtain a business license at your city or county clerk’s office and ask about required permits. Contact your state’s Department of Revenue about a sales tax license and schedule a pre-opening health department inspection.
Choosing a storefront
The next step is finding a good location for an ice cream parlor. Look for a site that is accessible from main roads with plenty of customer parking. Once you find a location you like, obtain a written zoning approval before you sign the building lease. Finally, work with a sign maker to build the perfect, colorful building sign for your ice cream parlor.
Purchasing furniture and decorations for your ice cream parlor
Consider furnishing your store with classic ice cream parlor decor. You can choose 1950’s style furniture and chrome fixtures to evoke memories of old ice cream parlors. You will also need to purchase display cases, ice cream freezers, and preparation aids. You may want to purchase specialty equipment like waffle cone machines and ice cream cake pans if you plan on offering specialty products.
Hiring an enthusiastic staff
One of the most important aspects of your store will be your employees. The way your staff relates to the customers will be essential for keeping repeat business. Search for enthusiastic employees with experience in customer service and a love for ice cream. You can look for candidates in senior independent living communities or college work-study programs, for example. Once you have a great group to help you run the store, consider doing team-building exercises to make sure you are prepared to open your new ice cream parlor.
Opening your ice cream parlor
On your store’s first day, consider hosting an old-time ice cream social to welcome new customers. Be sure to order additional quantities of your product and have customers create their own sundaes or cones. Make sure toppings such as hot fudge sauce, fruit syrup, and sprinkles are available. Advertise your ice cream social in newspapers or radio broadcasts. You can also place fliers in family friendly public areas.
Thinking about opening your own ice cream parlor? KaleidoScoops offers a cooperative business model that provides ample flexibility for independent store owners. You take on minimal risk with no royalty or advertising fees. Our store owners also have less restrictive guidelines and requirements than franchisee owners. To learn more about the cooperative business model and whether or not a KaleidoScoops location may be a good fit for you, call us at (877) 426-8488. You can also Contact Us by email for more information about our products and Get the Scoop on joining an ice cream cooperative.