This post was originally published in July, 2009 on Franchise Pick, and was updated November 11, 2009.
Franchisee reports that one of the more colorful franchise concepts of recent years, Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos, may have been more aptly named Ricky’s Chaos, Lawsuits & Bankruptcy.
We’ve been following and documenting the unfortunate decline of this once-promising concept in a series of posts, supplemented with commentary from Ricky’s franchise owners, ex-franchise owners, employees and corporate executives. Read them here:
The website of the Willy Wonka-esque concept, started by former FAO Schwartz exec Rick Barber, articulates the dream:
It includes thousands of bulk candy choices; a delicious super-premium ice cream you make in the store; candy novelties and other great gifts; and a color-filled party room terrific for kids’ birthdays.
These three business centers—candy, cones and ‘chaos’—provide an all-season business opportunity for the dedicated franchisee.
A July 9, 2009 post we made stated that of the 18 locations that had been listed on the company website in recent years, only 5 remain in operation as Ricky’s stores. In fact, 2 of the locations currently listed as open on the corporate site were, in fact, closed.
As of November, 2009, only two of the 18 stores remain open: Red Bank, NJ & Staten Island, N.Y.
Additional woes for the sweet concept gone sour include a group action lawsuit filed by franchisees last year, and a franchisor bankruptcy filing that was allegedly rejected.
Comments to the original post:
July 19, 2009 at 7:16 am Donald William Cheng wrote:
Rickys Candy Cones and Chaos is now run by Mr. Donald William Cheng as of May, 2009. The Princeton store is undergoing a restructuring and is out of bankruptcy. New changes are being effected to combat the changes in the business environment. The current economy has impacted the retail sector much more heavily than others.
The Ricky’s candy, cones and chaos model was heavily dependent on a robust economy where parents splurge on their children and friends. However, as the economy worsened, more people became budget conscious and retailers have to react by providing better value and Rickys did not adjust fast enough.
New management and marketing have been brought in to ensure that future partners and franchisees will be able to sustain a dip in the economy by providing long term financing and stronger financial management and brand management
October 29, 2009 at 11:54 am Former Store Owner says:
Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos will be closing its doors in November due to a raise in rent after seven years on Springfield Avenue.
“We just can’t afford to stay here,” said Donna Dill, the manager of the store.
Dill said that business has been slow for a while, and at the time of the interview no other patrons were shopping in the store.
Dill mentioned that the economy could be a reason why many stores in the Summit area are closing up shop or moving to different locations.
“The economy’s not that great,” she said. “I see so many vacancy signs, it makes me sad.”
Ricky’s will be closing by the end of next month, although there is not a specific date at this time.
At the last count by Summit Downtown Inc. in August, there were about 20 vacant storefronts, Tony Melchionna said. At that time it was the most he said he’d ever seen in downtown Summit.
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Photo: Taken May 12, 2006 by roboppy , license: Creative Commons location: Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos store, Ridgewood, NJ (closed)