Huntington Beach's Peddler of 'Ice Cream of the Future' Closes

dippin_store.jpg
Edwin Goei
Unless you happen to frequent Boomers or amusement parks, Dippin' Dots--once the rage in malls along with Spencers Gifts and other '80s relics--are a rare sight these days. And with the recent closing of the Huntington Beach store on 19742 Beach Blvd., it's now rarer still.

The novelty was invented back in 1987 by a university graduate student who took a good idea (to freeze ice cream droplets in liquid nitrogen) and turned it into a business franchise that peddles the ice-cream alternative.


I got wind of the Huntington Beach closure from a comment left on Monster Munching, and by the sound of it, it may have been written by someone who was involved with either that branch or one of the others that have closed over the years.

The commenter named Rebecca writes:

Going, going, going, GONE. Dippin' Dots are expensive. Overpriced cold B.B.s, not worth the price. Unfortunately, the only one getting rich is Curt Jones, the inventor. He's bilked tons of money out people who only wanted to live the American Dream of owning their own business. However, the costs far outweigh the return on your investment and countless Dippin' Dots stores that opened in the last four years have closed, most in just 18 months of business . . . like the HB store, the Long Beach store, the Rancho Cucamonga, Chino Hills . . . gone.

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Oreilly55
Oreilly55

I've posted about Curt Jones the founder of Dippin Dots bilking money from franchisees. Someone labeled me "disgruntled" not really. Actually, my husband and I are very grateful and feel blessed that we made a decision to close our Long Beach Dippin' Dots store last year or else we'd really be screwed as of today. This morning, we received an email from Shawn Kilcoyne CFO of Mini Melts. Shawn and his brother were former Dippin' Dots dealers back in early 2000 prior to Dippin Dots becoming franchised. Curt Jones specifically decided to franchisee his business to make money because of all his legal battles with Shawn, who formed Mini Melts and used the same process to make flash frozen ice cream. Curt sued Shawn over patent violations and curt lost. More legal fees. Thus Curt duped a bunch of us into buying franchises so he could make some quick cash. Curt also duped Regions Bank and signed several bank notes totaling over $6 million. He used the franchise as collateral and kept re' fi the business and increasing costs to the franchisees. The day of reckoning has come. Curt will soon lose his business and all the franchisees' like the Tesla's will not have product to sell. Read it and weep http://wpsd.bimedia.net/conten...http://wpsd.bimedia.net/conten...

Zaq
Zaq

Though it saddens me to hear that the Dippin Dots in LB closed along with it's sister store in Huntington Beach, it is the natural progression of businesses, and as previously mentioned it is the passion and innovation of the business owners that keep them afloat.

As previously said, look at the FV store. The owners, locals Dan and Debbie Tesla, not only run the store on Euclid and Talbert, but use it as a spring board for the other events they run in the area, including local school functions where part of the proceeds actually benefits the schools. The model is mutually beneficial.

The reality of it is this, while a couple of Dippin Dots stores have closed, the remaining ones are still doing business, and the the one in FV is even using their store to bolster the community during times when city and state budget cuts are requiring schools to find more creative funding. Personally, I think that's a good, and necessary aspect of the business. Good job Mr. and Mrs. Tesla!

roboyle1955
roboyle1955

Well Zaq...we ran our stores too. And, way before the FV opened. In fact the FV people came to our stores many times to model their business plan after us. We virtually held their hands during the build out of their stores, took their late at night panic attack calls and reassured them. We were an ear to their concerns because DD corp never returned their calls. The calls and friendship ended once FV was pitted against us and HB by a franchise system that does not allow for any store owner to claim territory. When your only means of making money is thru doing outside carnivals and school fundraisers, you get very territorial and forced competition among DD franchisees leaves people with hurt feelings and suspicions that another is stealing business from them. FV was especially paranoid about HB or LB taking one of their schools or other corporate events. Whatever.....

The fundraising for the school (as posted previously) IS NOT due to DD-FV having a generous bent, it is because even with fundraising you can raise cash for yourself. If you want to see a true "bolster to the community" ask FV to do it for free--100% to the cause. Doubt that one would go over very well.

The stuff FV does is done system wide by all store owners. Once you buy into the system and spend upwards of $150k to build out your store and another $5k a month on product/dry goods, it doesn't take long to learn doing outside events are the only way to make $$.

Oh and as for selling at schools, don't think that will be allowed any longer with all the restrictive nutritional guidelines. Also, dry ice will soon be a thing of the past because of all the environmental props that passed in CA. Dry ice is on the list of things to be banded in CA--dry ice is essential in transporting Dippin Dots to events.

Paul T Tran
Paul T Tran

The only way ice cream of the future will continue to be in business in the future, is the phenomenal service of the establishment, smart marketing strategy, and the quality of the store's owners. I'm sorry that the Huntington Beach store closed, but it wasn't a function of product offering, it was all about execution. I agree with the folks ahead of me that the HB location has no bearing or comparison to the FV store - Dan and Debbie are always constantly doing community outreach to show that they belong in Orange County, they use relevant marketing tools like Social Media to get exposure for their retail customers and corporate clients, and they always serve their ice cream with a smile, and in a relaxing, fun, warm atmosphere. HB's closure just means more customers to the FV that they deserve, and will be WOW'ed with!

roboyle1955
roboyle1955

Paul, Dan and Debbie MUST do "community outreach" aka fundraising in order to keep their brick and mortar store open. This is a known fact among DD store owners and one that is not clearly stated in the franchise agreement. It's NOT out of the goodness of their hearts they do these "community outreach" it is because they can sell product (and more of it) outside the store--where there's a captive audience. The HB people were educated, kind and giving people. They used social media and all other avenues to market their store and services within what is allowed by the Corporate people at DD. I disagree with you that HB closing or even our stores closing in Long Beach will "means more customers to FV" to the contrary, it just means the fad is over. It's kind of like the feeling I get when I see a Fudruckers great burgers but in the end, I can pay much less and get an In n Out.

rmtv
rmtv

The Dippin Dot crew of Fountain Valley is fantastic! Dan and Debbie truly care about their community and customers. They provide top-notch service and who doesn't love DOTS? I've become of fan of Dippin Dots because of them! Thank you Debbie!

Christina Lowe
Christina Lowe

I think Dippin' Dots are the best!! I wish there were more around to be honest!! :) But I do always the vending machines around which is always great as well!! They have been in business for over 5 years, & I know the Fountain Valley store is doing a great job, & the staff there is awesome. I always am seeing then out n' about doing charities, parties, & giving back to the community as well. Dippin' Dots is a great, & successful business!! Make sure you stop by their store in Fountain Valley!!

Hollie
Hollie

I love the Dippin Dot store in Fountain Valley!! I was very excited to find out about this store. Before moving to CA, the only time I had dippin dots was when I was a kid and went to an amusement park. Now, I can have them as often as I want (and being pregnant - that is a gift)!

On top of that, the owners of the store are so amazing and involved in the community. It is always a double treat to visit their store!

OakleyOC
OakleyOC

Businesses will open and businesses will close. One of the things that determine the will withstand the test of times is the passion of the business owners. Once in a while you hear about the mom & pop diner whose owners will not sell to the bigger names, as generations of customers’ families stop by for a meal and a conversation. Perhaps you’ve heard of the barber shop owner who will not give up seeing the satisfied loyal patrons, while nationwide hair salons pop up all around.

I’m happy to see the Fountain Valley Dippin’ Dots, owned and operated by Dan and Debbie Tesla the past five years continue to bring Dots love to my family. We can get these same Dots still at the bounce houses in South OC near where we live, at the Discovery Science Center after our kids work through the experiments, at various elementary schools’ fundraisers in my neighborhood, at birthday parties  … as Dan and Debbie continue to meet the growing demands for Dots. However, it’s always a cozy feeling to be able to have gatherings by friends at the Fountain Valley Dippin’ Dots, as that location offers an inviting ambiance.

It’s nice to hear that Dippin’ Dots continue to spread cold cheer one dot at a time. In Orange County, my family and friends are pleased to know that the Fountain Valley Dippin’ Dots continues to spread that cheer five years and counting. I can recall a recent front page feature by The OC Register, getting feedback from Dan and Debbie on how while many OC businesses are closing, their Fountain Valley store and business model is withstanding the peaks and valleys of the tough OC economic climate.

As with the mom & pop diner, or the local barber shop, it’s even more important than ever for patrons and business owners to foster a relationship that will withstand economic trends. People like people who are like them. Kind-hearted business owners attract kind-hearted patrons, and you never turn your back on your friends. Fly-by-night attitudes attract such clientele, and will deter long-term outlook. Sincere relationships create a nurturing environment. While I’m definitely not against nationwide chains, when I find a location that provides an environment I’m comfortable bringing my family to, and putting my name on the line to refer to others, the sincerity of that recommendation is all because the business owners took time to connect with its patrons. I find such camaraderie at the Fountain Valley Dippin’ Dots, with its owners, family, staff and patrons.

With the current warm start to 2011, I know that the sub-zero Dots from Fountain Valley hit the ground running and will continue to warm a lot of hearts this year and the years to come!

Oreilly55
Oreilly55

Yeah Oakley, (known friend of Dan and Debbie) I admire your commitment and loyalty to friendship (something everyone should have especially to people who opened their store to mentor others aka Dan and Debbie,when they were starting out in their store..anyway another story)...what you don't understand is a franchisee in a corporate system is not like "mom and pop" business. A franchisee has to abide to the system and it allows for little creativity. We had/have many loyal customers who still communicate with us via facebook or call us. However it takes about $1,000 a day in sales, everyday to make ends meet. I know for a fact the remaining DD stores don't do that kind of business. The need to sell outside the store is necessary just for survival. And, the major problem with the DD system is it pits franchisee against franchisee. Believe me, the people you know as "friendly" shop owners can become abusive, hateful people when their livelihood is threatened and they think you are "invading their territory" which no DD shop owner is allowed to lay claim to. That's why the DD franchise system sucks and many store owners close within a short period of time. Or they just burn out, which is our case.

DanGarion
DanGarion

Well http://twitter.com/#!/dippindo... is still around...

Spyderman4774
Spyderman4774

Yes, the Fountain Valley store is still around and the staff is great! In fact, while commentor Rebecca thinks Dots are overpriced, one is paying for the extra steps it takes to make Dippin' Dots the innovative product that they still are. Dippin' Dots also has updated its menu offerings to include iced coffees, ice cream cakes, and the like. Dots still are awesome!

Oreilly55
Oreilly55

True Spyderman. However the public IS NOT willing to pay the cost of "the extra steps it takes to make Dippin' Dots" as for the coffee products, cakes, blah blah blah. Dippin' Dots cannot compete with 31 Flavors and their cakes. Plus, again the costs charged to the franchisee from DD is so high that when you consider your time (the franchisee) and the cost of the product, you are barely making mini wage and in some cases less than minimum wage.

Debbie
Debbie

Thank you Dan! We have been around for over 5 years now and going strong in Fountain Valley! Come visit our store at 18011 Newhope Street, Suite D. Fountain Valley!

Oreilly55
Oreilly55

ha ha ha ha...It is more than just a couple of stores that vanished. Glad to hear FV Dippin' Dots is "going strong" but truth be told, that store like others struggled and was lucky enough to get a reduction in their lease from their landlord. The fact remains, the business model of Dippin Dots corporate is disorganized and the cost of product is high making the return on your investment low. The lack of national advertising still makes the product virtually unknown today. The company spends money on useless advertising and sponsorship of things that do not promote the product to their core demographics. I have to laugh because the positive posts here are plants and friends of the FV store owners. Check out other sites and you will see the "real" opinions of this product. Which will probably no longer be allowed to be sold at schools due to the new nutritional guidelines--outside events are the only way to make money as a DD franchisee therefore, not able to sell at school=no outside income streams. Oh well. Glad to have a PAYING job with benies!!

John Smith
John Smith

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Able, Baker, and Charlie
Able, Baker, and Charlie

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