Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

Meet a Franklin Street Business Owner: Antonio McBroom

The Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop on Franklin Street was the very first Ben & Jerry’s location opened in North Carolina, in 1988! Nearly 25 years later it’s owned and run by Antonio McBroom who started working there in the summer of 2004, before his freshman year at UNC. Antonio, along with Eric Taylor, bought the shop in May 2008 – just two days before he graduated from UNC.

As a small business owner Antonio, a Morehead-Cain Alumni who studied mathematics and African-American studies, doesn't simply wait for patrons to come to him. Since owning the store Antonio has consistently sought out ways to engage the community in his business. The shop regularly holds fundraisers for local nonprofits and UNC groups including UNC Dance Marathon , Relay for Life, Invisible Children, TABLE, and Ronald McDonald House.

Antonio says he loves owning a business on Franklin Street because he believes it’s a fun place to work and adores his customers. The staff, half of which are currently students, say they look forward to meeting the diverse customers every day that come in to the shop. 

Back in December brown paper went up in the windows of the shop. Many patrons feared the closing of their favorite ice cream shop downtown – but yet the OPEN sign was still lit up. In fact the shop was not closed, just the opposite. It’s being remodeled and expanded to offer new products.

This past holiday season Antonio opened a temporary Ben & Jerry’s kiosk at the Tanger Outlets in Mebane which has an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Shop. After frequenting the pretzel shop, and falling in love with the pretzels and brand, he realized Auntie Anne’s would do exceptionally well on Franklin Street. Rather than opening a separate location he decided to bring both products under one roof.

The combined shop will offer Auntie Anne’s original, almond, and cinnamon sugar pretzels, pretzel sticks, and pretzel nuggets. They’ll also have pretzel dogs – hot dogs wrapped in pretzels! – and pepperoni pretzels; and a variety of flavored lemonades and traditional lemonade.

The grand re-opening is on Wednesday, January 11 from 11AM to 7PM and all are invited to a full day of activities, samples and to meet Jerry Greenfield…yes, THAT Jerry! See full press release for details.

Mark your calendars now – Free Pretzel Day is Saturday, March 3 and Free Cone Day is Tuesday, April 3.

As someone who thinks the combination of sweet and salty is the holy union – I see my future now…a few pretzels dunked in ice cream!