The three founders of Primo Partners LLC, a franchise management company which owns and operates Ben & Jerry’s stores across the southeastern United States, say their shared upbringing in …
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The three founders of Primo Partners LLC, a franchise management company which owns and operates Ben & Jerry’s stores across the southeastern United States, say their shared upbringing in Chatham County prepared them for the rigors of entrepreneurship and the responsibility of caring for dozens of employees.
“Chatham County gave me a commitment to diversity and equality,” said Antonio McBroom, 34, Primo Partners’ CEO. “Growing up here in the late 1990s and early 2000s offered me a global perspective and allowed me to literally see people and the world not in black and white, but as a continuum of perspective and opportunity.”
Philip Scotton, 29, the company’s president of store operations, seconds McBroom’s enthusiasm for Chatham County values.
“Chatham County will always be home,” he said. “Growing up during one of the most diversified times throughout its history and attending high school at Jordan-Matthews could not have been at a better time. The knowledge gained will always follow the important steps as I continue to build my path to the future.”
Their shared path has included Primo Partners’ expansion from a single Chapel Hill location to eight franchise stores spanning from Texas to Tennessee. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion has made the founders — which includes COO Eric Taylor in addition to McBroom and Scotton — star members of the Ben & Jerry’s family. They strive to embody the company’s threefold mission to achieve economic, social and product goals.
The mission “guides the everyday vision of the company,” Scotton said. It’s the reason Primo Partners decided to become a part of the Ben & Jerry’s community.
“The economic mission is for everyone in the company, from scooper to CEO, to benefit financially,” McBroom said. “And the social mission is to make a difference in the communities we serve.”
But when the partners are not busy working to improve the world in serious matters of social reform and equal pay, they make sure never to neglect the mission’s third tenet: sell an outstanding product, and do it in a fun way. After all, they sell ice cream, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at that. The company’s longstanding motto is “If it’s not fun, why do it?” The Ben & Jerry’s commitment to fun is evident in the ice cream maker’s unusual flavor naming convention. There have been some especially sensational examples over the years.
“(The) craziest flavor ever,” McBroom said, “was Schweddy Balls.” As a pun and parody on the famous Saturday Night Live skit, it was vanilla ice cream with hint of rum, loaded with fudge-covered rum and malt balls.
Samples are an important feature of the Ben & Jerry’s business model and the wacky ice cream names make for a jocular customer experience.
“It was quite humorous,” McBroom said, “when our fans would come in for this flavor and say, ‘Can I taste some Schweddy Balls?’”
Other funny, punny flavors have included Chubby Hubby, AmeriCONE Dream, Netflix and Chilled and Chip Matters, Taylor’s personal favorite. The flavors come and go — they are often retired after a few years — but the fun never stops. That’s why, McBroom said, they “serve up the best ice cream in the world.”
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