Husband-And-Wife Franchisee Team Bring More Flavors and More Fun to San Diego

Gary Yarbrough, Baskin-Robbins San Diego Franchisee

When I moved to California in 1970, I never would have thought I would own my own business, much less be the owner of multiple, successful Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in Southern California. So, how did I get involved with America’s favorite neighborhood ice cream shop?

Well, I started my franchise-business career as the Director of Operations for a McDonald’s franchisee in California. For 30 years, I was in charge of every facet of the business (all 16 stores) from finance and accounting, to overall operations and employee management. After several years of working with a hugely successful franchisee, I began to see the true value in the franchise business model and the franchisor/franchisee relationship. There is something to be said about  not having to “reinvent the wheel” by joining a brand that is experienced and established.

My Baskin-Robbins story started about five years ago when I heard that the brand was hosting a franchising seminar in my area to recruit new franchisees. After attending the session, I learned a lot about what the brand has to offer as well as what kind of opportunity there was in the San Diego area.  My past experience of running a franchise in the market also provided with me with the confidence needed to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey and get started with Baskin-Robbins.

It would be wrong of me not to admit that this story would not have even started if not for excellent advice from my business – and life – partner, Maria.  My wife was the one to convince me to attend that seminar five years ago, which ultimately changed the course of our life, launching us into a new and exciting career path to own our own business. She now plays an integral role in running our stores and is truly the “Ying to my Yang.” She is a wonderful, balanced business partner who helps me to live in the moment.

Needless to say, Maria and I were eager to sign on with Baskin-Robbins after learning about the opportunities available to us at the seminar, as well as gaining better insight into the company’s strong brand heritage. It’s a brand with a following of loyal guests who recognize your name and love the extensive and innovative product line. It’s a brand that’s respected in the marketplace and poised for expansion across the country after 70 years in business. And most importantly, it’s a brand that we’re proud to be a part of each and every day.

We joined the Baskin-Robbins system by building our first store and purchasing two existing shops that were for sale in the San Diego area. By taking advantage of the brand’s transfer process, as it’s called, we completely skipped the development phase, which can sometimes feel stressful to new franchise business owners. The entire transition was easy and seamless.  We essentially purchased existing sales and loyal guests enabling us to start selling ice cream from the start.  After signing our first franchise agreement with Baskin-Robbins in 2011, we now own three Baskin-Robbins shops with plans to open three more.

Maria and I have learned that the ice cream business is a wonderful business to be in. Our loyal guests are enthusiastic about our products and promotions, especially the new flavors that come out every month and make us feel like a vital part of the local communities we operate in. They love to try new things and rarely turn down a “pink spoon sample.” More so, they are usually very relaxed and ready to indulge in a treat with their friends and family. It’s ice cream, after all! It can be spontaneous or anticipated; short-term, long-term or spur-of-the-moment. Ice cream is happiness in its simplest form and appeals to people of all ages.

I’m grateful my wife persuaded me to attend that Baskin-Robbins seminar in San Diego many moons ago, and I’m excited for my next store to open in 2017! We are thrilled that we are fulfilling our dreams of being multi-unit Baskin-Robbins franchisees in this growing Southern California market.

Baskin-Robbins remains dedicated to making the experience of eating ice cream an enjoyable one. More Flavors. More Fun.® is the mantra at Baskin-Robbins and shared by me, my wife and all of our dedicated employees.

To open your own ice cream shop with Baskin-Robbins, visit

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