Which reminds us — we need to go to the gym.
Cold Stone Creamery — the fast-growing American chain of ice cream shops featuring servers who, on top of a (you guessed it) cold stone, mix just about anything you want into your serving and, unfortunately, sing while doing so — will open its first Mainland China shop in the basement of Shanghai’s Raffles City mall near People’s Square on April 23. We have been told that the flagship Cold Stone Creamery will open sometime in May (the 18th is a the date we were given) somewhere on Nanjing Xi Lu.
This is part of a huge Asia expansion for the 19-year-old company out of Tempe, Arizona, which opened its first international store in Tokyo in 2005. Cold Stone plans to “open 105 stores in Mainland China and 60 stores in Taiwan over the next seven years. The company plans to open its first stores in Taipei, Taiwan and Beijing and Shanghai, China by spring 2007.”
More details can be found in this recent interview with Lee Knowlton, Cold Stone’s president of international and new business development:
Our goal is to open the first store in Taipei in April. There’s a famous building called the 101 building, it’s the tallest building in Asia, and we’ll open around the base from that. Then Shanghai at the end of April. . . . Beijing, we’re shooting for August. There will be three to five stores in each of these areas next year.
Then in ’08, we’ll go at a 10 to 15 clip in those markets.
He also said that serving sizes are smaller in Asia — they are quite huge in the US. Our source told us that a small order at a China store will start at around RMB 30. It will be interesting to see how the Cold Stone concept goes over in Shanghai … but we have a feeling it’s just gimmicky enough to work.
We wondered (for a second) if the inane singing would carry over into the China shops, and we are sad to report that it probably will, if these videos from Japan mean anything. Hell, the singing will probably be the most popular aspect of the shop here.
If you enjoyed the “extreme” Cold Stone video above, you may also like this one.