Some ice cream sounds pretty darn good right now in a major portion of the country, which has been suffering some record-breaking heat this summer. And if you’re in an impacted area, there are sure to be long lines at some of the favorite stops in your city.
But despite the intense heat, good, or at least convenient, ice cream is one of those things that will never go out of style, especially in the summer months.
The problem that the retail real estate has faced, though, is an over-expansion of certain fad-heavy operations, where one consumer visit fulfills the “been there, done that” checklist and doesn’t always lead to return trips, or at least not enough to support several locations doing what is essentially the same thing that are clustered together.
One of those concepts was the frozen-yogurt boom of a few years ago. People still like frozen yogurt, but the public didn’t need several operators having self-serve yogurt spots short distances from each other.
But some in the artisanal, or high-end category, seem to be hitting a sweet spot with consumers and landlords – especially in the nitrogen space, which is a sector the cold liquefied gas into mixtures that make for creamy desserts.
Creamistry, a franchise concept based in Irvine, Calif., is one of these. As of the end of April it reportedly had 60 locations and plans for about 200 more. Most of the chain’s portfolio of stores (so far) is in Southern states, theoretically making it season proof.
A competitor, Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, out of Utah, has more than 60 locations and is also rapidly expanding, in states all over the country.
Frozen custard, a concept that’s been around for quite some time, and is on the more accessible side of the spectrum, is also seeing growth.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, out of Wichita, Kan., has only been around since 2002, but it now has about 300 locations in 32 states and is still expanding. It’s similar to Dairy Queen in that it also offers a full menu of burgers, fries and other sandwiches.
All of this is adding up to quite a bit of real estate, which is welcome in a retail environment punctuated by store closures and overheated shoppers.
About GRS Group
GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.
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