Ben & Jerry’s Tampa, Clearwater Beach scoop shops will open in January

The new stores, including one at Midtown Tampa, will be among the few Black-owned franchises in the country.

Tampa Bay’s wait for fresh-packed pints of Phish Food and Chubby Hubby is almost over.

Two new Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops will open on both sides of Tampa Bay over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, the stores’ franchise owners announced Tuesday.

First is a new shop at Midtown Tampa, the massive mixed-use development just south of Interstate 275 near N Dale Mabry Boulevard. That shop will host a grand opening celebration from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 14 with cake and ice cream samples, music, arts and crafts, face painting, prizes and more.

The next day, Jan. 15, will see grand opening festivities starting at 10 a.m. for another Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop at 409 Mandalay Ave. in Clearwater Beach.

“We’ve spent the past three years identifying the right spots,” said Antonio McBroom, one of the franchise partners behind the two stores. “This Midtown development is ideal for an in-city, cool, state-of-the-art-designed store. And we wanted Clearwater Beach because ice cream, the beach, tourists — we felt like it’d be a a great mix to get us started.”

The stores will be among the few Black-owned Ben and Jerry’s franchises in the country. McBroom and his partners own eight other Ben and Jerry’s stores between Houston and Raleigh, N.C., and at one point had a store in Melbourne.

Opening on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend was always the goal, McBroom said.