Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop near UF campus closes

The owners of the store plan on renovating and expanding their Archer Road location.

Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 9:12 p.m.

The Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop convenient to those on the University of Florida campus has closed its doors.

To meet the franchise's growing needs, the Ben & Jerry's located at 1638 W. University Ave. closed Dec. 17, according to Pete Zimek, co-owner of Gainesville's Ben & Jerry's.

Zimek said that after the university store's lease expired, he and his partner decided to focus their efforts on a location better suited for the business.

The Archer Road location will be renovated and expanded to include space for more customers and more ice cream flavors, Zimek said.

The Ben & Jerry's on University featured 30 flavors while the shop on Archer features 24. After the renovations, the Archer Road location will be home to all 36 available Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors, Zimek said.

"We're excited about the possibility of bringing every single flavor we can possibly order from Ben & Jerry's to our store," Zimek said.

He said the new store will also have more space for hosting fundraisers and store promotions. The store on Archer will continue "BJs in your PJs," a promotion in which customers wearing their pajamas can receive discounts on their purchase. The company is also increasing the money it donates from group fundraisers from 20 percent of each sale to 30 percent.

"There will be a lot more space and more room for fundraisers and events like free cone day," Zimek said. "There might even be enough room that people will be able to host their meetings there."

But the move has some customers upset that they will have to go farther for ice cream.

University of Florida students Laura Gill and Dunja Zelihic said they liked being able to walk to the shop from their Tolbert area dorm to get ice cream.

"I don't understand why they're moving," Zelihic said. "I don't think business will be as good at Archer. There are too many cars on the road, and it's just a pain to get over there."

But Zimek is not worried about a decrease in sales.

"I don't think this will affect sales too much since most of our business comes at nighttime," he said. "The new location has a drive-thru and is more accessible for students who live in apartments near Archer."

The Archer Road store will reopen in early January and Zimek said an ice cream party will be hosted on Jan. 14 to celebrate the move. Customers will be able to sample all 36 ice cream flavors as well as coffee from 8 p.m. until midnight.

"We want to make sure that people make that transition with us," he said.

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