by: Deanne King
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa bay area just got a little sweeter with two new Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops that are not only serving ice cream, but also ensuring representation matters.
One Ben and Jerry’s location is now open in Clearwater and a second location is set to open in Midtown. The stores will be the first Black-owned Ben and Jerry’s in Florida. Both shops are owned by a franchisee group run by three African-American men. They are the only group of Black men within the company to own several stores across the country.
Eric Taylor is one of the owners. He has known his business partners since high school.
“Antonio came to me and said he wanted to buy a store and the rest is history,” Taylor said.
Shortly after college in 2008, the men bought their first Ben and Jerry’s store. Now, they own 10 stores across six different states.
Taylor said the men are using their position and platform to truly live up to the phrase “representation matters.” Their goal is to hire and mentor minorities to continue making sure people of color own businesses in the corporate world.