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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Local scoop shops unaffected by 'big buyers'

Despite accusations of deceit by some Ben & Jerry's franchises throughout the country, Pete Zimek, owner of franchises in Gainesville, said the claims aren't true.

In a Newsweek article scheduled to hit stands today, various owners describe deceit in the form of discounted prices for big buyers such as Wal-Mart, underweight ice cream shipments and lack of concern for the "little guy" behind the counters of its stores.

As the controversy heats up, Zimek, who owns the scoop shops on University Avenue and in The Oaks Mall, said the story's validity melts down.

For Zimek's stores, sales are just as sweet as the ice cream they serve.

He said despite what the article claims, his stores are profitable, and Ben & Jerry's headquarters makes each franchisee well aware of what to expect.

As far as big buyers taking over the Ben & Jerry's industry, Zimek said Wal-Mart's sale of prepackaged pints does not affect his scoop shops at all.

The pint-packaging business and scoop-shop business are completely separate from one another.

Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry's director of public relations, said the article misrepresented information. Michalak said a problem in the factory's machinery caused some shipments to be underweight in summer 2005. The company took responsibility for the problem, he said.

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