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Deliciously Cool

One franchisee reaps the sweet rewards of owning a frozen custard shop.

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This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When new franchisee Don Heyne was warned by corporate that owning a Ritter's Frozen Custard franchise would be the toughest thing he'd ever do, he dismissed the warning with a chuckle. He had worked on his family's chicken farm, and he doubted anything could be more difficult than that. But Heyne soon understood what they meant: When his manager quit two weeks after being trained, plans for a hassle-free opening of his frozen-treats franchise started melting away.

With no time to hire another manager, Heyne and his wife, Susan, who had a full-time job, armed themselves with scoopers and officially opened the doors during high season in June 2001. "We crawled into bed for basically three to four hours a night for five months straight," says Heyne, who lost 25 pounds as a result. "It was an endurance test."

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