Baskin-Robbins closes in Cape

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Business Today

Baskin-Robbins, an ice cream parlor located at Town Plaza Shopping Center since 1978, closed on May 14, about two years after owners Nina and Richard Schmidt were told that Allied Domecq, an English company that owns Baskin-Robbins, was not interested in being in smaller, non-strategic markets and would not renew agreements with about 300 of its franchises.

Part of Allied Domecq's marketing strategy, Nina Schmidt said, is to combine its three holdings - Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts and Togo's sandwich shop - into one location. They never asked Schmidt to do that, but she said there was no room at the Town Plaza location even if they had.

Other Baskin-Robbins fell victim to the same strategy, including those in Sikeston, Paducah, Ky., and Murray, Ky.

Baskin-Robbins is the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, with more than 4,500 locations around the globe. It's known for its 31 flavors, which are actually more than 100 that are rotated.

The Cape Girardeau store has an option to renew the franchise agreement if the store meets the requirements set out in the agreement, said Debra Newton, Baskin-Robbins director of global communications.

Richard Schmidt said they could have extended the contract until 2007, but would have had to spend as much as $40,000 remodeling the store. He said they were told that no matter what they did, however, they would have their franchise pulled in 2007.

Schmidt, a supervisor at Sabreliner in Perryville, said an auction will be held May 20.

The Town Plaza is owned by Greater Missouri Builders in St. Charles, Mo.

Property manager Shannon Hall said that they've been working on getting a new business in the unit, which sits next to Garber's clothing store. She said they have not signed a lease yet.

"We're looking at quite a few deals," she said. "We've got a lot of interested parties: a clothing store, some pizza places, a sandwich shop. We're real flexible."

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