Whitecaps Dippin’ Dots Franchise Continues to Grow
Dippin’ Dots was a fan favorite for more than 20 years at the West Michigan Whitecaps stadium. The popularity of the beaded ice cream product prompted the West Michigan Whitecaps to buy a Dippn’ Dots franchise six years ago.
Dippin’ Dots is an ice cream snack invented in 1988, created by flash freezing ice cream in liquid nitrogen. The company is based in Paducah, Kentucky.
Todd Jeluso, operations coordinator for Dippin’ Dots, said the franchise operated at the ballpark for the first two years but quickly outgrew their space. Dippin’ Dots is now located on Abrigador Trail near the ballpark in a facility owned by the Whitecaps.
Jeluso said the Whitecaps Dippin’ Dots franchise now has more than 600 accounts around the state. They sell to gas stations, waterparks, schools, fairs, convenience stores, mini golf, stadiums and others. Customers are given a special Dippin’ Dots freezer, as the product must be kept at -40 degrees.
The Dippin’ Dots franchise now has eight employees including Amy Wyma, who works the fair, carnivals and festival circuit and Greg Sebright, full time salesperson. Route drivers with transit vans with the brightly colored Dippin’ Dots logo, make the rounds every three weeks to statewide customers.
Jeluso said customers can charge whatever price they want – Dippin’ Dots costs $6 in a cup or a cap at the Whitecaps stadium and typically sells for about $3.50 in a gas station.
Running the franchise can be challenging.
“It’s challenging trying to organize the timing with people and keep everyone happy,” Jeluso said. Sometimes customers don’t give adequate notice to resupply Dippin’ Dots.
Hands down the favorite Dippin’ Dots flavor is Cookies ‘N Crème. The franchise currently carries six other flavors -- brownie batter, cotton candy, banana split, chocolate, cookie dough, and rainbow.
Matt Timon, director of the Dippin’ Dots franchise and food and beverage manager with the West Michigan Whitecaps, said kids also like rainbow flavor, a gluten free, dairy free option,
Timon said owning a Dippin’ Dots franchise fits in with the Whitecaps’ theme of “fun, family and entertainment.” It’s more of a one-off venture for the Whitecaps who have no other plans to purchase more franchises.
At the ballpark Dippin’ Dots was “one of the best products people were excited about,” Timon said. The Whitecaps fielded many calls on where to buy them.
Although the Whitecaps plan no huge expansion for Dippin’ Dots they plan to keep growing the customer base and getting their name out.
Jeluso said the franchise is seeking more Upper Peninsula and Detroit area accounts.