Editor's Note: The following story has been revised to reflect the following correction, which appears in the June 4 print edition: Because of incorrect information supplied, a transaction that resulted in Sam and Gail Haapala, from Beaufort, S.C., owning Bruster’s Real Ice Cream on Lovett Road was inaccurately described in a business column in the May 21 edition. Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC, the owner of the Statesboro Mall, purchased the property out of foreclosure from Sea Island Bank. The Haapalas lease the facility from Hull Storey Gibson.
I'm sure that many of you have noticed that Bruster's Real Ice Cream on Lovett Road near the mall has reopened. I stopped in to visit with the new owners, and here is what I found out.
The restaurant has been purchased by Sam and Gail Haapala from Beaufort, South Carolina. The Haapalas have a Bruster's in Beaufort, and became immediately interested in this location when they found out it had closed and was available.
"I had a young lady come to our Beaufort store, and tell me how much she loved the ice cream and how she missed being able to get it in Statesboro," he said. "I didn't realize that it had closed, and immediately called the corporate office to find out about it."
As it turned out, Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC, the owner of the Statesboro Mall, had purchased the property out of foreclosure from Sea Island Bank. The Haapalas then leased the Bruster's facility from Hull Storey Gibson.
The Haapalas reopened the location, which had been closed since last October, on May 16, and have already begun making some "changes"
"One of my main concerns is that the outside of this store appeared exceptionally sterile to me," he said. "The outdoor area around the store is our dining room. So, we are already in the process of enhancing it."
Haapala said he is adding new landscaping, more furniture and umbrellas, as well as a flagpole.
"I want people to be able to sit around comfortably and chit chat with one another while they enjoy their ice cream and hot dogs," he said.
Haapala said he has big plans for his Statesboro location.
"When we bought the Beaufort store four years ago, it was 184 in overall sales throughout the chain," he said. "We are now 74 out of 351 stores. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish, and I have the same high hopes for this location. We want to be Statesboro's number one ice cream store."
According to Haapala, the Statesboro store will be open year round.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at email@example.com