Rita’s Italian Ice awarded franchise and area development agreements for New Mexico and three cities in southern Colorado (Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Trinidad) to RNM Management Inc., owned by Dave and Mark Gaulden, Albuquerque residents and long-time entrepreneurs. As Rita’s expands to their 26th state, plans call for 30 stores to be developed over eight years with the first location planned for Albuquerque in March of 2015. According to Mark Gaulden, the company plans on developing Albuquerque and Santa Fe with 14 company owned stores and sub-franchising the remaining areas of the territory.
Besides bringing “Ice, Custard, Happiness” to New Mexico, plans call for the creation of over 700 new jobs by hiring Treat Team members from each of the local communities surrounding every new Rita’s. The first New Mexico Rita’s store, opening March 2015 in Albuquerque, will employ approximately 20 Treat Team members from the local area.
“We want to bring something new and exciting to New Mexico and can’t wait to start spreading Rita’s ‘Ice, Custard, Happiness’ here!” says Mark Gaulden. “Everyone will find their own favorite treat like mine, a Mango Gelati—a layering of fresh Mango Italian Ice and creamy Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frozen Custard. Gelati is the best of both worlds and it just so happens to be Rita’s No. 1 treat!”
Rita’s Italian Ice, which is celebrating 30 years in business, has been aggressively expanding across the U.S. and internationally. Last year Rita’s opened its first-ever International store in Shenzhen, China, and this year will see the opening of Rita’s in Canada and the Philippines. Rita’s goal is to open 85 stores across the U.S. this year and next year its first store in New Mexico, which is Rita’s 26th state for the brand. “Rita’s is proud to award a franchise development agreement to the Gauldens to accelerate Rita’s growth throughout New Mexico and southern Colorado,” says Eric Taylor, CDO of Rita’s. “We’re confidant Rita’s cool treats will be an instant hit among consumers in New Mexico’s year-round warm weather.”