Community rallies behind TCBY in Lenoir

The franchise is up for renewal at the end of September, but in order to renew, the owners would have to agree to expensive upgrades and renovations. "We just don't have the finances to do it," said Melanie Cromer, who owns the franchise along with her husband Mark. TCBY officials, in a prepared statement, said the couple has been invited to renew the agreement but has declined.

http://www.wbtv.com
September 11, 2012

Community rallies behind TCBY in Lenoir
Steve Ohnesorge

tcby.jpg

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) -
More than 700 people lined up for cones, shakes and more at the TCBY frozen yogurt shop in Lenoir on Tuesday morning. The gathering was organized Monday evening after word spread that the owners would not be able to renew their franchise with TCBY after 25 years of operation.

The franchise is up for renewal at the end of September, but in order to renew, the owners would have to agree to expensive upgrades and renovations.

"We just don't have the finances to do it," said Melanie Cromer, who owns the franchise along with her husband Mark. TCBY officials, in a prepared statement, said the couple has been invited to renew the agreement but has declined.

Officials did say in the statement that upgrades were required and that the corporation had some incentives to help offset the some of the costs but the offer was turned down. The Cromers said incentives were not enough to make it financially viable. "We will probably have to close on September 30th," said Melanie.

People who came to the store Tuesday morning were hoping corporate officials would see that renovations and upgrades were not needed to keep the business viable. Corporate officials did not address that in their statement, only that the upgrades were "Important for each TCBY franchise in order to compete in the current frozen yogurt environment."

Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons said he was hoping something could be worked out. "We have seen a lot of places close in Lenoir in recent years and we just don't want to see another one." Gibbons said the community reaction was more than just about frozen yogurt. "It's about the Cromer family too and all that they've done in this community over the years."

Melanie Cromer was brought to tears by the number of people coming into the store and wishing them well. She knew that folks would be coming in for a show of support but never expected 700 to arrive. "It's just so incredible."

TCBY released the following statement:

Our local franchisee in Lenoir, North Carolina has been a loyal franchisee in our system for many years and their commitment to the brand is an important part of our legacy. Our Lenoir franchisee's franchise agreement has expired and they have been invited to renew their franchise agreement, which is a standard operating procedure in our franchise system. Part of the franchise renewal process is a commitment to update their location to the current TCBY store design standards. This is important for each TCBY franchisee in order to compete in the current frozen yogurt environment. As part of that requirement, we have offered incentives to help the franchisee recoup some of the cost of the store remodel. Despite our offer to assist them, they informed us that they have chosen not to remodel and will instead close their store this month. We are disappointed with their decision but it is their choice. We recognize and respect that this is their business decision.

- TCBY Corporate

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/19517271/community-rallies-behind-tcby-in-lenoir


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