Horry County ice cream franchise raises prices as gas, diesel and dairy costs rise

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Local franchise Mister Softee has announced a price increase starting June 1.

Prices will increase by $1 as fuel and ingredient prices increase. Serina Regan, owner of Mister Softees in Horry County, said she waited as long as she could to raise prices.

“We have a lot of loyal customers and we try to keep the price base low for them because we want everyone to have ice cream,” Regan said. “Ice cream is a happy thing. Unfortunately, our prices keep going up when it comes to our supplies, so we really have to deal with that on the other end of the spectrum.

Mister Softee trucks rely on diesel fuel and gasoline to stay in business when not hooked up to another power source.

“They run entirely with this diesel engine running to keep everything cool in the trucks and then of course we have the gasoline running the engine to keep us on the road,” she said.

Trucks run about 12 hours a day and sometimes more. Fuel costs really add up.

“It’s about $3,000 a week right now,” Reagan said.

About $1,200 of that cost is for diesel only.

Regan has been told by her supplier that the dairy industry is bracing for higher costs and possible diesel shortages. She said this creates a domino effect between suppliers, businesses and customers.

“So it’s about $2,100 now and it’s going to go well beyond $3,000 a week on the dairy depending on our sales and the good quality we’re using,” she said.

She didn’t want to raise the prices but she had no choice. She felt that the rise in the dollar so far was enough to move them in the right direction.

“I am the sole owner of the business and I need to be able to support what we do and our employees need to be able to support their families as well.”

Regan said she would always deliver quality products and ensure her staff were taken care of.

“We will continue to serve Horry County as we do – in the same way,” she said. “We’re not going to change our product, we’re not going to change our services or compromise the value of what they’re getting. They will continue to get the same great value ice cream with our wonderful employees who work for us. It’s just not going to change.

Regan believes his prices are among the lowest in the country for the franchise. She’s not sure if she’ll have to raise her prices again, but said she’ll always make sure her ice cream is as affordable as possible while still making a living.

“It’s stressful right now,” she said. “You never know what tomorrow will bring. I might increase it in June and they will tell me by the end of June that something will increase again.

About Thomas B. Countryman

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