Antonio McBroom Used To Scoop Ice Cream At Ben & Jerry’s, Now He Owns 15 Locations
Antonio McBroom has achieved a historic milestone as the first CEO of the sole Black-owned and Black-led multi-unit franchise group for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Spectrum News reports that McBroom holds ownership of 15 Ben & Jerry’s establishments spanning the southeastern United States, in addition to a Starbucks location. McBroom’s mission extends beyond his entrepreneurial accomplishments; he is dedicated to inspiring others to believe they can attain similar success, as he passionately shared with Spectrum News.
“The responsibility of being a Black entrepreneur is just showing others what’s possible,” McBroom said. “I know that a lot of folks growing up don’t see cases of Black excellence, and so for me to be a model, an example for folks in my community of just what’s possible.”
McBroom currently allocates an annual portion of his revenue to support other Black-owned businesses, but his journey began from modest origins. His first job at Ben & Jerry’s was as a scooper during his freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and it led to him being able to purchase his first franchise in Chapel Hill shortly before his college graduation. He became the youngest franchisee in Ben & Jerry’s history with his purchase. In addition to his Ben & Jerry’s franchises, he is a lead curator and developer with the Vickers Bennett Group.
McBroom has won multiple awards during his career; Black Enterprise, in fact, awarded him the Franchisee of The Year in 2018. The University of North Carolina Black Alumni Group awarded him the Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award, and Ben & Jerry’s awarded him The Big O Operator of the Year in 2021, and the MVP Multi-Unit Franchise Award and the Ben & Jerry’s Global Impact Award in 2023.
McBroom isn’t alone in his success. He and his friends, Eric Taylor and Phillip Scotton, formed a limited liability company called Primo Partners, which they used to develop a mini-empire of Ben & Jerry’s locations across the South.
McBroom also doesn’t like to gatekeep the lessons he has learned in his successful journey. In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine, he offered advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.
“Be deliberate in selecting a brand that’s a good fit,” he suggested. “Think about the values you have as an entrepreneur and as a person and look for brands that align with those values. The biggest rubs I’ve seen are when there’s kind of franchisee and franchisor misalignment on values. That’s really hard to overcome.”