The Cold Stone Creamery chain has melted off the Central Coast in recent years, with only one still open in San Luis Obispo County.
The Atascadero Cold Stone Creamery, at 6917 El Camino Real in the Colony Square shopping center, closed in early December because of low revenue, owner Mike Talen said. All five employees were laid off.
“After two-and-a-half years feeding it, we just had to give up,” he said. “It’s a real fun business to be in, but it’s got to turn a profit.”
Talen would not disclose the annual revenue for the Atascadero location, but said it was much lower than revenue at his Cold Stone store in Paso Robles. He attributed this largely to a lack of foot traffic at the shopping center.
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“We really thought we’d hit a home run (with the location),” Talen said. “But the whole center just never picked up. It was never completed.”
The Atascadero shop opened in June 2011 along with the then-brand-new Colony Square on El Camino Real.
Talen shut down his former Atascadero shop to open a new one in the square, which was touted as a revitalization for Atascadero’s downtown area, he said.
But between a lengthy development and plans falling through for ways to connect the center to other shopping areas, Talen said he was not confident the shopping center could sustain his business.
Colony Square developers Peter Hilf and Jim Harrison could not be reached for comment on the closure or on any possible tenants.
The Atascadero Cold Stone is the third of the ice cream chain’s stores to shut down in San Luis Obispo County in the past six years.
In 2008, the Cold Stone in Arroyo Grande shut its doors.
Then in March 2013, a downtown San Luis Obispo location closed.
Talen’s Paso Robles Cold Stone is the only one left in San Luis Obispo County. Still, Talen said he might consider opening another ice cream store if the location was right.
“If on paper, the foot traffic was all good, absolutely we’d consider it,” Talen said. “But that’s what we thought we had at the (Colony Square) location, too.”