Ben & Jerry’s Stores Ditching Ye Olde Happy Soda Shoppe Design With Upscale Remodel

(Ben & Jerry's)

(Ben & Jerry’s)

Perhaps your face has been half-buried in a pint of Chunky Monkey for so long that you didn’t even realize that Ben & Jerry’s stores sort of resemble Ye Olde Soda Shoppe gone cheesy — bright colors, checkered floors, and cheerful colors all summoning up the image of, well, a children’s playground. That’s how the brand director tells it, and is the main reason behind a new remodel that will seek to sleekify Ben & Jerry’s retail shops instead of peddle ice cream with cartoons and cows.

“Somebody said it best, I don’t remember if it was during the consumer research that we did or … no, I can’t say this — ” Ellen Kresky the brand’s creative director, tells Fortune, before finally coming out with it: “It felt to them that it was like walking into a children’s playground.”

Gone will be the black-and-white floors, away with the ice cream scoops and star decorations. Instead, some of the chain’s stores will soon sport a more upscale look — tile floors that look like maple, antique milk bottles for lamps and gentle, pastoral farm scenes on the wall. Restful. Adult.

The chain has updated some stores in the last five years, if franchisees have been able to support the cost of a redo. Most have the new paint and graphics inside and others are now changing out the signs on the exterior, putting in new cabinets and installing the ceramic tile floors.

This new aesthetic may be partly responsible for a 10% boost in sales at stores with the revamp, says the company, an important sign post to note, as it’s important to keep up with the Johnsons in this market. In the frozen treat business, the Johnsons Ben & Jerry’s has to compete with are all those high-end frozen yogurt shops aiming to take a scoop out of traditional ice cream shops.
We all still scream for ice cream, however.

“For every eating of frozen yogurt there are 10 times the number of eatings of ice cream,” says NPD Group chief industry analyst Harry Balzer. In addition, 43% of us will eat ice cream in some form in the next two weeks. You can check me off, sir. Ice cream for breakfast is a Friday tradition in the MBQ household.

Ben & Jerry’s new flavor: fancier stores [Fortune]