DAVIDSON – On Aug. 15, 2015, Jade and Annsley Ehret opened Whit’s Frozen Custard. A little less than two years later, business is booming, and they are hoping to open a second store in Concord by the end of the summer.
Prior to moving to Davidson, the Ehrets and their three children had been loving customers of Whit’s Frozen Custard in Ohio. The franchise started in Granville, Ohio, in 2003, and now has locations in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.
“When we decided to move we thought ‘Why not open one ourselves?’” Annsley Ehret said.
They looked at several locations throughout the Piedmont, including Wake Forest, Elon, Burlington and Greensboro.
“Davidson was our last stop, and we fell in love with it,” Annsley Ehret said. “It is just a very family friendly, close-knit town, and Whit’s do really well in those kinds of areas.”
After opening the doors, employees began the gradual process of educating residents on frozen custard.
“I was surprised with how many people didn’t know what frozen custard was,” she said. “So many people were hesitant to come in because they didn’t know what it was.”
The custard is made fresh daily using eggs, cream and sugar. The production process is what makes it different from ice cream or frozen yogurt, Ehret said. They use 20 percent air, which gives it a creamier, denser texture than ice cream, and it doesn’t have any added preservatives.
Once people tried it they came back, she said.
Bernie and Erika Sahadi live in Salisbury and first tried Whit’s on a whim. They now make the more than half hour drive with their two dogs on almost all of their days off for custard.
“You gotta have it,” Bernie Sahadi said.
A move to the current location that faces South Main Street last May seemed to increase customer traffic. The initial store location had been only a few doors over but was not visible from the road. The new location is the previous spot of the South Main Sweet Shop. Ehret said they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to no longer be tucked away.
She now has approximately 13 employees, many of whom are high school students.
“It is great because they are excited to have a first job,” Ehret said. “We can try to mold them or teach them how you should do things in a business atmosphere. Customer service is a huge thing.”
Robin Petty, 18, first started working at Whit’s last fall and loves the environment.
“I come here, and it’s like home,” she said.
Plans are in place to open a second store in Concord in Afton Village, tentatively in August.
“Our goal is to open at least one more (after that), so three total,” Ehret said.
Right now, she is the main operator and her husband currently works in IT, but down the road Ehret said their dream is for him to stop and help run the different stores full-time.
Even with the one location, Ehret said she is recognized as “the Whit’s Lady” when she is picking her kids up from Davidson Elementary. Ehret said her children like being able to say their parents own Whit’s, plus they spend a lot of time with her there.
“What I’m trying to teach them, as a mom and a business owner, is ‘Hey, if [running your own business] is something you want to do, it takes a lot of work,’” she said. “It’s your thing and your thing only.”