EAST LANSING, MI-Cold Stone Creamery, the fastest growing ice cream franchise in the US, plans to add 60 franchise operations in the state by 2009. The company currently has 16 stores in Michigan, having opened eight stores in 2004 with plans for an additional eight to open by year’s end.

The additional Michigan stores are projected to open in the next three to five years, company officials say. “We’re looking for entrepreneurs that are as passionate about ice cream as we are,” says Michigan area developer Michael Flaum. “What better business to be in than the ice cream business?”

The company is hosting an informational seminar on Oct. 7 at the Marriott East Lansing at University Place to educate local investors of the entrepreneurial opportunity. The company believes its business formula is a key contributor to having taken a bite out of the $20.7-billion ice cream industry. Boasting a $380,000 annualized average unit volume, the highest of any super-premium ice cream concept, Cold Stone Creamery 2003 system-wide revenues exceeded $156 million, up 77% from $88 million in 2002.

In 2003, Cold Stone Creamery opened 228 new stores nationally and has already opened 250 in 2004. Cold Stone Creamery offers handcrafted ice cream made fresh daily in each store, and then customized by combining a variety of mix-ins on a frozen granite stone. With more than 800 stores from coast to coast, Cold Stone Creamery currently operates in 46 states including Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Guam. Cold Stone Creamery is an independently owned franchise system headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ.

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