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    Rita's Italian Ice Ventures Into Convenience Channel

    Long-term plan calls for 60 units to open over 10 years.

    TREVOSE, Pa. — Rita's Italian Ice entered the convenience and gas channel for the first time and will expand through two area development agreements. The Italian ice concept's first c-store unit opened in June at a Chevron ExtraMile store in Newbury Park, Calif., and 60 more units are planned to open by 2025.

    The Trevose-based company, which has more than 600 stores, awarded agreements to M&M ARC Inc. for the development of the West, and Ice & Go LLC for the development of the Midwest, South and Northeast.

    "The convenience and gas channel allows us to further penetrate the market, while presenting franchisees with even more opportunity," stated Mo Boutara, senior director of franchise development at Rita's Franchise Co. "We're thrilled to have two incredible business partners on our team as we embark on this new venture."

    M&M ARC is led by convenience and gas expert Meenu Sandhu and her husband Madhusudan Sandhu, who have more than 40 years of combined experience in the industry, including the ownership and management of five c-stores and gas stations in California. During their 10-year plan, Sandhu and her team plan to open 30 Rita's locations across her territory, which includes California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

    "I first set my eyes on opening a Rita's more than a year ago, and once I realized the opportunity and full potential of the convenience and gas space, I knew I had to do something bigger," Sandhu said. "I'm thrilled to have my plans finally come to fruition, and I look forward to spreading my love of Rita's up and down the West Coast."

    Upcoming convenience openings of Rita's locations include the TravelCenters of America Minit Mart at 5425 Cairo Road in Paducah, Ky., operated by franchisee TA Operating LLC; and the Gulf-branded Lucky's Station in Stillwater, Minn., operated by Lucky Oil Co. President and Chief Manager Scott Stevens, who will also serve as an area developer for Rita's presence in the Midwest and along the East Coast. The Lucky's location is scheduled to open in August.

    "We've taken Rita's proven Italian ice concept and tailored it to the convenience store channel," Stevens said. "Rita's C&G [convenience and gas] model has potential to be hugely successful for franchisees, as well as the entire Rita's system, and I couldn't be more excited to grow my portfolio and bring my business and personal vision to life."

    More information on purchasing a Rita's Italian Ice franchise is available at www.ownaritas.com.

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