Ben & Jerry's franchise gets cold reception at Byron Bay

RIGHT FLAVOUR: Kelly Templeman from In the Pink, Byron Bay, which has served gelato in the area for 25 years. The owner is unfazed by news of potential competition.
RIGHT FLAVOUR: Kelly Templeman from In the Pink, Byron Bay, which has served gelato in the area for 25 years. The owner is unfazed by news of potential competition. Patrick Gorbunovs

BYRON Bay fought KFC from opening up shop, now another multinational fast food franchise has its eyes on the town - and locals are restless.

Ice cream company Ben and Jerry's, with outlets in 26 countries including Australia, has caused a stir among locals by posting on Facebook they were considering opening a franchise in the town known for its vocal opposition to multinational franchises.

"Here's the scoop: we're looking to set up shop in Byron Bay, but we need an amooooozing (sic) franchisee to join our herd first! Want to start a new business or know someone who does?! Apply today!" the Ben and Jerry's Facebook page announced.

Within minutes of posting the idea, locals jumped in to comment, with the majority of responses telling the food franchise it was not welcome in Byron Bay.

"Im a sixth generation local born and raised in Byron Bay. I can tell you now, you are making a mistake by coming to Byron. Franchises simply dont belong in this town. Sorry," wrote one person.

As well as warning Ben and Jerry's the town would oppose it, many defended the Bay's longest-running local ice-creamery, In the Pink.

"But the locally owned "In the pink" is the best ice cream by far; you won't have enough followers to sustain your business year round," wrote another person.

"Go away. I eat 'in the pink' ice cream in Byron Bay," wrote another.

In the Pink owner Glen Lawrence said yesterday his customers alerted him to the Facebook status, but he wasn't fazed.

"We've been here in Byron Bay for 25 years," he said.

"Nobody wants to see Byron Bay lose its heart and soul to franchises."

However, having seen Australian companies such as Streets and Peters come and go in the town, as well as surviving competition from the two ice cream franchises that have stayed - Cold Rock and Baskin-Robbins - Mr Lawrence was not surprised to hear of new competition.

"We use local, seasonal ingredients fresh from the farmer's markets; our gelati is made with fresh cream, milk and sugar in the traditional Italian way," he said.

"The big franchises are well known, so that will draw in some customers, but nobody can compete with how our product tastes."

Topics:  business byron bay ice cream

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