Sweet Success

Few startups in the past 20 years could even dream of achieving the dizzying success of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cold Stone Creamery. It started out as a gourmet ice cream shop in Tempe in 1988. Today it has 1,375 stores and another 1,000 in development. It also has expanded beyond the U.S., opening shops in Guam, Puerto Rico, Japan and South Korea. From 2004 to 2005, sales doubled from $288 million to $408 million. Its five stores in Japan are currently raking in an astounding $35,000 a week in sales.

What Cold Stone sells is an experience. After entering a store and picking your favorite ice cream, you then get to unleash your creativity by adding an assortment of goodies such as gummy bears, Oreos, pineapples, raspberries and apple pie filling. A store clerk then scoops, grinds and chops the ingredients into your ice cream on a cold slab of marble. A Harvard doctoral student recently calculated that it's possible for Cold Stone to serve up to

A. In the back of my mind I always thought I would end up in-house. I just thought I would be better at living on and guiding one ship than I would be at radioing out to various ships. It became immediately apparent to me that I had made the right decision after about

90 days on the job.

A. There are from time to time. It's not always top of mind to run out and get a patent in our business. That's a mistake. You have to keep that option in the back of your mind as a possibility. We are working on some healthy products that I think are definitely patentable. We also have design patterns for ice cream cakes as well that might be patentable.

Q. How much of the department's time is spent dealing with franchise ?? 1/2 issues?

staff Writer

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