Local Water Ice Franchise Company Sold
Falconhead Capital acquires Rita’s Italian Ice.
Falconhead Capital, LLC, a private equity firm, announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company, LLC, a regional frozen treat concept based in Trevose, from an investment group led by Jim Rudolph.
According to a PR Newswire release, Rudolph has retained a minority stake and has been named Vice Chairman. Thomas Christopoul, an Operating Partner at Falconhead, has been named Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer of Rita's. A search is underway for a full time Chief Executive Officer. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Rita's was founded in 1984 by Bob Tumolo, a former Philadelphia firefighter who, alongside his mother Elizabeth and brother John, made and sold Italian Ice from their small porch window. Today, the brand has grown exponentially to approximately 550 franchise locations in 18 states. It was recently recognized by Zagat as the #2 outlet in the Top Ice Cream/Custard category and by The Wall Street Journal's 'Startup Journal' as one of the Top-25 Franchise High Performers.
"We are delighted to acquire Rita's, one of the largest frozen treat concepts in the country with considerable growth potential,” said David S. Moross, Falconhead chairman and CEO. “Jim Rudolph and his team have done a great job scaling the business since acquiring it in 2005. We look forward to partnering with Rita's loyal and dedicated franchisees as we work to build the value of this emerging brand."
"This transaction is an important vote of confidence in the Rita's concept and a positive development for our franchisees,” Rudolph said. “Falconhead is an ideal owner for our business given their successful track record investing in and supporting consumer-facing businesses. David and his team will be excellent stewards of the brand and will have my full support as they pursue a number of exciting growth initiatives. Together, we look forward to continuing the tradition of 'Ice, Custard, Happiness' that has won us an extremely loyal and active fan base over the years, and ensuring that Rita's remains a great place to work for our 'Treat Team Members'."