Former United States Army Sgt. Bill Palaich signed the first discounted franchise-fee agreement with Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. The half-price fee offer is available through the VetFran program, which helps match veterans with franchise opportunities. Palaich and wife Marcia will open their Bruster’s Real Ice Cream shop in Clermont, Florida next year. Currently, the nearest Bruster’s Ice Cream shop is 30 miles away in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
“More than 12 percent of current Bruster’s franchisees were in the military,” says Jim Sahene, CEO. “We’re pleased to offer this incentive to former military members who want to serve their local communities in a new way.” After Bill’s 30-year telecommunications career ended with the merger of two cellular phone providers, he and Marcia decided this was their carpe diem moment. They often wanted a more active role in their community, but work demands prevented it. Marcia had hospitality and special events experience, and the couple was familiar with Bruster’s Ice Cream from growing up in Western Pennsylvania, where the treat shop originated. “We were attracted to the Bruster’s brand,” Bill Palaich says. “It will allow us to give something back to the community, something we’ve been wanting to do.”
Bruster’s currently is experiencing its best performance in 12 years. It has completed six consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, with some markets up as much as 13.1 percent over 2013. The company credits new product introductions, improved operations, and an integrated marketing plan, which includes regular limited-time offers, an aggressive social-media and public-relations strategy, formation of advertising co-ops, and a refreshed focus on local community marketing.