Today, Rita’s Italian Ice, the world’s largest Italian Ice concept with more than 600 stores, officially announced it will enter the convenience and gas channel nationwide with two area development agreements. The agreements were awarded to M&M ARC Inc. for the development of the West and to Ice & Go LLC for the development of the Midwest, South, and Northeast. Together, the two agreements call for 60 units by 2025—the first of which opened its doors last month in Newbury Park, California, at the Chevron Extra Mile convenience store and recently celebrated its grand opening.
“The convenience and gas channel allows us to further penetrate the market, while presenting franchisees with even more opportunity,” says Mo Boutara, senior director of franchise development at Rita’s Franchise Company. “We’re thrilled to have two incredible business partners on our team as we embark on this new venture.”
M&M ARC Inc., Rita’s area developer for the West Coast, is led by convenience and gas expert Meenu Sandhu and her husband, Madhusudan Sandhu, who together have more than 40 years of experience in the industry, including the ownership and management of five successful convenience and gas locations in California. As part of the aggressive 10-year plan, Sandhu and her team will open 30 Rita’s Italian Ice locations across her territory, which includes: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
“I first set my eyes on opening a Rita’s more than a year ago and once I realized the opportunity and full potential of the convenience and gas space, I knew I had to do something bigger,” says Meenu Sandhu, owner of M&M ARC Inc. “I’m thrilled to have my plans finally come to fruition and I look forward to spreading my love of Rita’s up and down the West Coast.”
Farther East in Paducah, Kentucky, franchisee TA Operating LLC prepares to open Rita’s Ice at the TravelCenters of America Mini Mart while area developer Scott Stevens of Ice & Go LLC will lead the charge in developing Rita’s presence in the convenience and gas space throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast, developing 30 stores within 10 years. Stevens, who also serves as president and chief manager of Lucky Oil Company, is slated to open Rita's Ice in August 2015 at Lucky’s Station, a branded Gulf station in Stillwater, Minnesota.
“We’ve taken Rita’s proven Italian Ice concept and tailored it to the convenience store channel,” says Scott Stevens, owner of Ice & Go LLC. “Rita’s C&G model has potential to be hugely successful for franchisees, as well as the entire Rita’s system, and I couldn’t be more excited to grow my portfolio and bring my business and personal vision to life.”
With more than 30 years in business, Rita’s Italian Ice has been aggressively expanding across the United States and internationally, with innovative new concepts and locations now open in the Philippines and Canada, and coming soon in the Middle East and the Caribbean.