Owner Looking to Relocate Bethesda Ben & Jerry’s
Popular ice cream shop closed in December.
Ben & Jerry’s could reopen in a new Bethesda location by spring, said franchise owner Marc Sosin.
The ice cream shop on Fairmont Avenue closed in December, as it neared the end of its current lease. Sosin, who has operated the store since 1996, cited a decrease in the amount of foot traffic in the area and the prospect of 18 to 24 months of construction nearby -- with residential project the Monty nearing its groundbreaking date-- as reasons he and his wife, Bonnie, closed the shop.
“The future didn’t look too bright,” he said. “It was not economically viable to stay there… unless we’d gotten a serious rent deduction.”
Sosin also owns the franchise in Rockville but said he is searching for a new site in Bethesda. His choice of location will be based on the customer profile and foot traffic of an area as well as the size and shape of the retail space.
Stephanie Coppula, the director of marketing and communications for Bethesda Urban Partnership, said there is usually a three to four percent vacancy rate for retail space in downtown Bethesda.
“Certainly Ben & Jerry’s has been a staple,” Coppula said. “I’m sure folks would love to see (Sosin) stay.”
Pam Diener, of Bethesda, said she used to bring her children to the store after school on Fridays. The store was often busy, and Diener said she “would be shocked if it was a business issue.”
“Everybody around here goes here,” she said.
Diener and her family said they would like to see another ice cream shop open in the old Ben & Jerry’s location.
“They need an ice cream store, something kids-related, to give the kids a place to be,” she said.
Until Sosin reopens in another Bethesda location, customers can order cakes through the Rockville location, and the delivery fee will be waived, he said.
“We’re trying to hold onto people as much as we can,” Sosin said.