Ice cream might be synonymous with the beach, and now one Jacksonville mainstay small business is going to take advantage of that.
Kyle Jones, a family friend of Dreamette’s seven-year owner Johnny Nettles, entered into a trade name license agreement to open the local ice cream parlor at Neptune Beach.
The decision to open the new location stemmed from some nostalgia Jones had about the brand, which has been in Murray Hill since 1948.
“I remember going to Dreamette, since I grew up in Riverside,” Jones, who owns his own property management business, said. “I’ve always been a fan of the product and Dreamette.”
When Nettles started talking about opening a store in the Beaches area, Jones said he started exploring locations in the Beaches Town Center.
But Jones said he never would have gone through with the idea if he didn’t find the right location for the right price.
That location ended up being an 875 square-foot former Yobe Frozen Yogurt shop next to the 7-Eleven, which costs about $22 per square foot. In addition to indoor seating, the location has an outdoor patio, which Jones said will be perfect for a walk-up window to order, similar to the original Murray Hill location.
But Jones added that his store will definitely pay homage to its own location, sporting a beach theme decor in soft colors with whitewashed hardwood floors. He even said that he plans to replace the old frozen yogurt shop’s self-serve machines with aquariums, so guests can sit up at a counter and watch the fish.
The store is expected to be opened by early Spring. If all goes according to plan, Jones said he plans to be in that location for a long time, and could look at expanding to other areas of Jacksonville.
But to do that, the store needs to be a success, which is exactly what Jones is expecting.
“There’s a yogurt location across the street and a custard location, but that area doesn’t have soft serve ice cream,” he said. “There should be a big demand there.”
That’s what Nettles is hoping for, and why he decided to work with Jones in opening a Beaches location. Nettles, who will get paid a fee because Jones is using the Dreamette brand, said the store is opening just in time for peak ice cream season in the spring.
Katy Figg, associate of retail leasing with Franklin Street and who represented the landlord, Huron Sophia LLC, said the expansion was indicative of Dreamette’s status as an important Jacksonville brand.
“It shows that this is a proven brand in Jacksonville that has become a favorite over the last several years,” Figg said. “People want to experience it all over Jacksonville.”
Nettles said he decided to open this new location, as well as the store’s other branches in Mandarin and Macclenny because he wanted to bring the brand to those who went to it as a child.
“A lot of people grew up in Murray Hill and Avondale, and since then a lot of people have moved to other parts of town,” he said. “They still like Dreamette but it’s too far. So I thought I’d expand it and bring Dreamette to where these people had moved.”