Hawaii’s Papalani Gelato Signs Up First Franchisee in Tampa, Florida

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Gelato made in Hawaii goes national with the signing of a first franchise agreement in Tampa, Florida. Papalani Gelato, launched in 2008 on the island of Kauai, produces and sells traditional Italian style gelato with tropical ingredients, along with specialty chocolates and coffee drinks packaging both production and retail sales franchise agreements designed for growth.

Serving up tropical gelato at a Papalani Gelato store location in Hawaii

"Our distinctions are not just the multi sotre concept and the appeal of Hawaii in our product line, we integrate the experience -- each product creates desire to add to the other..." - Marck Shipley, owner, Papalani Gelato

Hawaii-based Papalani Gelato Franchise Operating Company, LLC, a wholesale and retail supplier of specialty gelato, coffee, and chocolate, recently signed up its first franchisee which will be located in Tampa, Florida. The Florida franchise will include both manufacturing and two retail sales locations, with the capability to add retail stores in the future. In 2008, Papalani Gelato started producing and selling a wide choice of all-natural gelato, sorbetto and frozen yogurt selections, along with specialty chocolates and coffee beverages on the island of Kauai. Unique to its product is gelato with a tropical flair connecting Hawaii to traditional Italian gelato. The owners, Marck and Lauren Shipley, pride themselves on bringing distinctive tropical tastes into their product line. “It’s like taking your taste buds on vacation,” says Marck Shipley. Currently, Papalani Gelato operates two retail locations and wholesales to other Kauai businesses.

After several years of successful operation on Kauai, the Shipleys extended their focus to create franchise packages for both full production and retail-only locations in a model unique to the industry. They saw the potential and allure of offering frozen dessert treats combined with specialty chocolates and coffees that have a distinctive Hawaii appeal. This cross-selling opportunity differentiates Papalani Gelato from other frozen dessert-only stores, “Our distinctions are not just the multi-store concept and the appeal of Hawaii in our products,” states Marck Shipley, “Our concept integrates the experience -- each product creates desire to add the other choices.”

The International Dairy Association reports that 33 billion gallons of frozen desserts are consumed away from home. Gelato, considered part of the artisan frozen dessert category, made up 20% of sales in 2010. Papalani Gelato’s franchise package provides for setting up a manufacturing and store facility starting at 650 square feet and a retail store location, starting at 350 square feet. In this way, according to the Shipleys, franchisees can add retail locations as their business grows. The franchisee receives training, support services, policy manuals, site selection assistance, branding, advertising, a marketing program and a point-of-sale system.

James and Dana Winfrey, of Tampa Florida, are the first to purchase a Papalani Gelato franchise agreement with plans to open their first store and manufacturing location by mid summer. After long careers in technology, the Winfreys decided to explore launching their own business. They became gelato fans while on vacation in Italy in 2011. “Who knew that a year and a half later we would be signing a gelato franchise agreement,” says James Winfrey. Searching for a business to own where they could do something that was both manufacturing and service oriented, they considered Papalani Gelato’s combination of traditional gelato with tropical ingredients as unique and appealing. James Winfrey says that he found the exploration process with Papalani Gelato’s owners as rewarding. “We felt it was a was a unique product, the Shipleys are great people and this is a perfect fit for the Tampa area.”

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