Ian Ritter is national online editor of GlobeSt.RETAIL.

BOSTON-Cold Stone Creamery plans to open 50 to 60 new units in Massachusetts over the next three to five years. The Boston area was one of the last major metropolitan areas for the ice cream chain to open, and the company now has six locations in the state.

Scottsdale, AZ-based Cold Stone is looking for stores in all types of retail real estate, from open-air centers to malls, says Meredith Bryan, the company’s area developer. Any type of center is sufficient as long as it still has high traffic from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cold Stone looks for vacant spaces next to movie theaters and restaurants.

It took until last February for a Cold Stone to open in the state, though the company’s first franchise was awarded in 1995. “We’re just catching up to the rest of the company,” Bryan says. “We don’t take on territory until we’re ready for the infrastructure.” Nationwide and in the Caribbean, there are about 825 Cold Stones.

Cold Stone also opened late in New York City. It’s first Manhattan location opened in Times Square in the summer of 2003, and the company currently has three stores in the city.

The Northeast is not the only region Cold Stone is looking to expand. The chain has opened 275 stores this year and is averaging one unit opening a day. Next year, the company is planning 400 new stores. Cold Stone also has 1,000 franchise agreements sold for future units. Besides Massachusetts, the company is pushing for major expansions in Florida, Texas and the Philadelphia area.

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