How to Open a Cold Stone Creamery Franchise

How to Open a Cold Stone Creamery Franchise. Cold Stone Creamery, founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, is known for its smooth and creamy ice cream rather than the usual hard packed or soft serve ice cream found in most stores. Ice cream is made fresh each day in the Cold Stone stores and then made to order by blending on a frozen granite stone.

Be aware of how much money you will need to start a Cold Stone Creamery franchise. The total investment costs between $294,250 and $438,850, including an initial franchise fee of $42,000.

Get a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) if you don't have access to the required amount of money. The SBA reports that out of the 499 loans for Cold Stone Creamery stores taken out through the SBA, only 1.6% have failed to pay back the loan. In addition, the SBA has not completely charged off anyone who has received such a loan.

Receive eleven days of training from the company at the Cold Stone Creamery headquarters and three days training at your franchise location. You will receive ongoing support in the way of newsletters, meetings, a helpline to call and Internet assistance. They will teach you about purchasing co-ops, field operations and evaluations, security and safety procedures and the grand opening.

Recognize that you will need to pay the Stone Cold Creamery company 6% of your royalties per year on top of the $42,000 yearly fee.

Hire about 15 employees to help you run your franchise unit.

Open your store in the beginning of summer if possible, when your sales volume will be at its best. Franchisees state that the positive publicity about Cold Store Creamery received from Entrepreneur Magazine and The Food Network, among others, has helped them with sales from their initial startup.


  • Entrepreneur magazine ranked Cold Stone Creamery as the #1 franchise to own in 2007. In the same magazine it was ranked #12 for the Fastest-Growing Franchise and #20 in the category of America's Top Global Franchise. About half of all Stone Cold Creamery franchisees own more than one store. Franchising started 1994.


  • With Stone Cold Creamery franchises, you must commit to being the operator of the store. Absentee ownership is not allowed.


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