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Baskin-Robbins Franchisee, Hugh Williams

Accordingto Hugh Williams, he is lucky enough to have Baskin-Robbins “in his blood.” Hishigh school years were spent working in his parent’s Baskin-Robbins shop wherehe played every role from cashier to assistant manager. After learning the insand outs of his parent’s business in the 1970’s and 80’s, he knew he wanted toown his own Baskin-Robbins franchise one day.

Hugh wenton to graduate from Georgia Tech University with an engineering degree and workedselling computer systems to major commercial accounts. After spending five successfulyears in the corporate world, in 1989, Hugh decided to pursue his dream and develophis first new Baskin-Robbins shop in the Buckhead Neighborhood of Atlanta. Overthe next eight years, he bought and sold a total of five shops in the Atlantametro area, all of which performed very well. His success made him eligible forseveral franchisee awards including the Marketing Excellence Award in 1993 and1994, and Operator of the Year in 1995. Hugh also served on the brand’sMarketing Advisory Council during his tenure with Baskin-Robbins.

Despitehis love for the brand, Hugh sold his shops in 1997 and dove into the realestate industry, which was booming in Atlanta at the time. After three shortyears, he got the itch to return to business ownership again and purchased a customsign and graphics franchise, where he was able to utilize his extensiveexperience in sales. Due to Hugh’s marketing skills, the business wassuccessful, but he ultimately decided to sell.

“While Iwas successful selling custom signs and graphics, I knew it wasn’t a long termventure for me,” added Hugh. “I missed the simplicity of owning aBaskin-Robbins restaurant. At an ice cream shop, you offer one product indifferent variations: ice cream. Owning a Baskin-Robbins location requiresdealing with a limited number of vendors as opposed to a traditional retailstore that requires multiple vendors to function and operate properly.”

Longbefore Hugh became a multi-unit Baskin-Robbins franchisee in the 90’s, he hadhis eye on an existing Baskin-Robbins location serving the Buckhead Communityof Atlanta. For sale in 1989, the asking price didn’t fall within his budget. Nearly18 years later, Hugh ran into the current owner – the same man that outbid himin 1989 – and asked if he could purchase the shop from him.

“Makingcustomers happy working at Baskin-Robbins was a passion that never left,” saidHugh. “It was 2006 and I was in the midst of selling my sign franchise when Iran into Pete at the local Sam’s Club in Atlanta. Pete was the franchisee ofthe Baskin-Robbins shop in Buckhead I had tried to purchase 17 years earlier. Itook running into him as a sign and convinced him to sell me his shop inBuckhead. I always knew I would return to my Baskin-Robbins roots and whatbetter way than at my dream location.”

Today,Hugh still owns the Buckhead location on Peachtree Road; it’s one of the firstBaskin-Robbins shops that opened in Georgia almost 60 years ago. He was proudto be named the brand’s Franchisee of the Year in 2014. Hugh sits on the MarketingSubcommittee and he is also co-chair of the brand’s Cake InnovationSubcommittee. Both groups work to develop marketing ideas for new products andhis participation gives Hugh a chance to represent Baskin-Robbins franchisees acrossthe country. He’s played a wide range of roles in the business, making him amulti-faceted asset and an invaluable ambassador for the brand. It’s safe tosay that Baskin-Robbins has been and always will be a part of Hugh Williams. 

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