NEWPORT – Tyler Rosenberg first started eating ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s the summer when he turned 14.
Fast forward a little over a decade, and he’s been franchising twice. The Portsmouth native recently purchased Ben and Jerry’s locations in the city – one at 359 Thames Street and the other at 33 Bannister Wharf.
“People are familiar with the name Ben & Jerry, but I don’t think most people realize that all franchises are individually owned,” said Rosenberg, who turns 27 next month. “They know you can get a pint at the store, but you can also go to the scoop store and get all these great options.”
After graduating from Portsmouth High School in 2013 and earning an art degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, Rosenberg returned to the area and Ben & Jerry’s in a management position. He had to attend what the company calls “Scoop University,” where he met several people at the company’s end of the process.
That seed planted the seed in his head one day running his own Ben & Jerry store, and when the previous owner—who lives more than an hour away—offered a sale, Rosenberg jumped at the chance. He said there are still aspects of the ownership side, like sending quotes and keeping books, he’s still trying to learn.
“I have a good handle on it,” he said, “but I’m dealing with it.” “There will be times when things come up, and I’ll say, ‘Huh, I want to learn this’ or ‘I want to find out. “
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Rosenberg helps family members who know and understand the business. His father, David, and his mother, Nancy, founded Newport Marketing & Events more than three decades ago, and his sister, Brittany, owns and operates Sweet B’s Donuts.
He is inspired to see his parents running a successful business over a long period of time.
“Watching them interact with people and set up an event, that’s on them,” Rosenberg said. They make plans, and walk how everyone reacts. It’s the same feeling I get when people are in my shop.”
While he is just one of many franchisees, Rosenberg says he wants to put his own stamp on two scoop stores in Newport.
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“There’s not a whole lot of freedom that you get with the local mom and pop store because we’re part of the franchise, but from my point of view, I grew up here and know a lot of people in town. It makes a huge difference,” he said. “We are a franchise, but we are not Totally stuck in this system. We do things that we believe will make our customers happy, and make our team happy too.”
On Aquidneck Island, there’s no shortage of places to grab an ice cream, so how will Ben & Jerry’s stand out? basic. Just follow your nose.
“The thing I’m trying to push more is the wonderful smell of the waffle cones,” he said. “I like to say scents sell out. Once this scent hits Thames Street, people flock. We want everyone to experience it every time they walk into the store.”
Another way to gain visibility is to bring ice cream to people. Rosenberg says he has a trailer that can hold up to six wagons, so don’t be surprised to see your favorite Ben & Jerry shows—he said there are 36 flavors—at your favorite Newport festivals and events this summer.
All in all, as a new business owner, Rosenberg just wants to give patrons a good experience.
“Our store isn’t too big compared to other stores. We don’t have any seats so it moves fast.” But we have a two minute window to be able to offer a great experience with a quality product. This will be what we will drive. “