Gofer ice cream chain to expand
With five locations in Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and Wilton, Gofer Ice Cream announced Tuesday plans to expand by selling franchises to Connecticut entrepreneurs, and those in other states next year.
Former UBS analyst Jay Ragusa launched the company on Memorial Day weekend in 2003 in Greenwich, with Gofer shops featuring 56 flavors of hard ice cream today, as well as soft-serve, frozen yogurt, cakes and other treats.
In October, Gofer was forced to suspend operations at its main Greenwich shop after a fire at an adjacent Indian Field Plaza restaurant where it is located.
Ragusa indicated it was always his plan to franchise Gofer after perfecting the concept, without stating publicly the expected up-front and annual costs for franchisees.
Entrepreneur magazine lists startup costs roughly from $100,000 to $500,000 or more for ice cream counters and shops like Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Carvel, Cold Stone Creamery and Haagen-Dazs.
Other local eateries to attempt to expand through franchising the past few years include Riko’s Pizza and the Melt Mobile sandwich truck, both based in Stamford.
Many more out-of-state franchisors offer opportunities in Connecticut which the state Department of Banking lists on a business opportunities website, with this autumn’s entries including Gofer as well as Chicken Guy from celebrity chef Guy Fieri.
As the case with Riko’s, Gofer Ice Cream has hired New Jersey-based Franchise Growth Solutions to help it branch into franchising, whose principal Gary Ochiogrosso is the former president of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille, which has a location at Danbury Fair.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman