Rita McCabe, Sub Zero Ice Cream, Nashua, NH
Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt Makes Science Delicious
Rita and Mark McCabe were watching Shark Tank on TV when they saw a demonstration of Sub Zero Ice Cream, which uses liquid nitrogen in a patented process to create customized, fresh, smooth and creamy ice cream. Although none of the sharks decided to invest, Rita and Mark knew the franchise opportunity was right for them and in January 2014 became the owners of Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt, located in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Customers come to the store and select all the ingredients that go into their ice cream. They choose from eight base creams: premium, low fat, no-fat yogurt, lactose free, no sugar yogurt, custard, or cashew and soy as non-dairy options. They then pick from 50 individual flavors which can be mixed and matched to produce a limitless variety of combinations. Finally mix-ins such as fruits, nuts and candies are added. Everything is put into a bowl and flash frozen before the customer’s eyes. Not only does the ice cream or yogurt taste delicious, Sub Zero is able to accommodate many allergies since each serving can be customized.
One of the attractions of the Sub Zero business model was the potential for multiple revenue streams. In addition to the store, Rita and Mark cater birthday parties, Quinceaneras, Bar and Bat Mitzvas, office parties as well as weddings and more. They also have given back to the community and provide science presentations for schools, at one point serving 680 students ice cream after they had learned about energy, Ideal Gas Law, evaporation, and condensation. The McCabe’s have become Merit Badge Counselors to help scouts earn their Chemistry Merit Badge at the store. This is viral marketing at its best, since many of the students and scouts they meet are ice cream lovers and will visit the store after tasting the appetizing product.
Rita works full time in the business which employs 10 part-time employees. Mark has retained his corporate job and works after hours to help grow the company. Rita and Mark are also the New England Area Developers for the Sub Zero franchise, looking for other business owners who want to fulfill their dreams of entrepreneurship. Mark is a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran and he and Rita advise veterans on starting and growing a business. They are involved with both the Veterans Business Outreach Center and the Veteran Business Owners Association.
How Did CWE Help?
Rita and Mark had never owned a business before and knew there was a steep learning curve. They came to CWE for classes on the basics of financial statements. They also returned for a class on bank financing and social media marketing, which was key in helping them understand how to capture potential customers’ attention in eight seconds or less.
Advice for Other Entrepreneurs?
- Building relationships is key to running a business. Network with people who can provide guidance, are willing to share their knowledge and experience, and will introduce you to others when they don’t have the answers.
- It might take longer than you think to develop your business and build awareness, but don’t give up. Just work it every day until the ball starts rolling.
- Word of mouth is the best way to grow a business. Your customers provide your best references and will happily do your advertising for free!