An Interview with new Rita’s Franchise Owner Jane Hollinger

Jane and Ed Hollinger are the owners of the SunDance Car Wash chain based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These twenty-year business owners opened their first franchise, a Rita’s Water Ice, in New Holland, PA during the early summer of 2006.

What made you consider starting a business and becoming a franchisee?
The opportunity to start a new business arose when property next to our car wash became available. We wanted to start something different that New Holland did not have, but we didn’t want to start from scratch, either. We also wanted something that our sons could help manage later on.

How did you find out about Rita’s Water Ice?
Rita’s came into our area about four years ago, which is when we first became aware of the franchise. My husband Ed and I are regular Rita’s customers, and our three boys love going to Rita’s with their friends. Every part of Rita’s is a refreshing treat. The flavor of the ice is pleasant and the atmosphere is fun.

What steps did you take when you were considering Rita’s?
We contacted Kurt Stumf, a Rita’s franchisee that we are friends with, to gain his advice and input. We know Kurt because he also owns a carwash business. After talking with Kurt, we devoted a weekend to go visit other Rita’s locations throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. That gave us the opportunity to meet Rita’s franchisees, ask questions, and to physically observe the stores themselves. We wanted to hear the experiences of other franchises firsthand, in addition to meeting with the Rita’s franchisors in Bensalem.

What factors were important to you that led you to open a new Rita’s location?
I love the product, which is what sold me in the end. But it also seemed like we would have someone to work with us during start up and once we were on our feet. They offer different departments to source supplies and equipment, which really appealed to me. When I dealt with the people at Rita’s, they always offered their assistance and that made us feel cared for as franchisees. Once we got started, Rita’s sent a trainer to work alongside us in the store during the first week of operation. Their support is part of the package and that was very valuable to me.

What is it that you wish to accomplish? What are some of your long-term goals?
If all continues to go well, we wouldn’t mind owning another Rita’s Ice location someday. One of our sons, Kevin, has a real interest in business management, and he is going to start taking college business courses this fall. The goal is to help him get our Rita’s going and walk away. Then we will just oversee when needed. It is an awesome legacy to hand down something like this to your kids. It helps them to provide for their future and to develop a good work ethic.

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