YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many people around Youngstown are spending their summer enjoying the sweet treat of Handel’s ice cream, thinking they have something the rest of America could only wish for.
Turns out, the rest of America is catching up and more people are joining in every day. From Los Angeles to Philadelphia, from Houston to Youngstown, there are now places to buy and sell Handel’s.
Youngstown’s Tim Joyce was a basketball star at Ursuline who later became an executive with Nike. He now owns three Handel’s franchises in Oregon.
“It’s all about product. I knew the product would transfer to Oregon or California or wherever because it starts with that,” he said.
“We are opening stores now at a clip of one every two weeks,” said Handel’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Brown.
The company currently has 68 stores in 10 states. There are many around Youngstown, southern California, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Indianapolis, where the stores are owned by Canfield’s Greg Glaros.
“He has three extremely profitable stores,” Brown said.
Many of the Handel’s franchise owners have Youngstown connections.
“People grew up with the product. They moved away and they couldn’t find any ice cream locally that reminded them of the ice cream back here,” Brown said.
Brown says that last year, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Handel’s opened 16 new stores. By year’s end, he expects there will be 85 in 12 states, with North and South Carolinas being added.
The corporate headquarters remain in Canfield, but there’s now a regional office in Atlanta.
“Now, we’re known as a national brand,” Brown said.
Can Handel’s get to 200 stores?
“That number’s being floated right now. So we’re at 85. The number is north of 200 in the next three years,” Brown said.
Opening a Handel’s will cost a franchisee a minimum of $400,000 to $500,000. A free-standing store in Los Angeles may cost $1 million dollars, though outside of the Youngstown area, most of the Handel’s shops are in plazas, where the operators are paying rent.
Watch Brown’s entire video below: