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Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt: A Modern Take on a Favorite Treat

As I walked into the Sub Zero Ice cream and Yogurt store in Nashua it looked like a normal ice cream shop except for a large stainless steel cylinder filled with liquid nitrogen and the realization that there was actually no ice cream on site.  I was politely asked if I wanted something made with cream, yogurt, custard, lactose free or non-dairy; I picked a flavor, fruit and a mix-in or two.   My chosen ingredients were poured into a bowl.  Then science took over and I watched with wonder and awe.  Cold fog and vapors hid the concoction for a couple of minutes, then presto!  My cup of “freshly brewed” ice cream was ready for my palate to enjoy.

Interestingly the creation of Sub Zero in Nashua went through a somewhat similar process with owners Rita and Mark McCabe.  While watching a rerun of a “Shark Tank” episode in June of 2013, Rita and Mark were impressed by a presentation by Jerry and Naomi Hancock, the inventors of the Sub Zero process.  They had a “what if” moment, and they didn’t stop there. 

At that time both Rita and Mark had enjoyed long and stable careers in quality control and export compliance at BAE Systems.  As their youngest child was reaching college age they were looking at business ownership as a next project in their lives.  On seeing the Shark Tank episode they were immediately attracted and contacted the Hancock’s (direct descendants of John Hancock) at the main office for Sub Zero in Utah. 

They also realized they should look for help.  Mark is a 20 year Navy veteran from the 1980’s era.  He made contact with the Veteran Business Owners Initiative (VBOI) in Manchester and soon Mark and Rita were working on the VBOI’s 18 week Business-Boot-Camp-type class, helping them with finance, marketing and business planning.  They also learned of the services of SCORE, the NH Small Business Development Center (NHSBDC) and the SBA.   All were free and all were ready to assist them in determining the viability of a project and assisting them in obtaining financing.

In September of 2013 they contacted Sub Zero headquarters in Provo, Utah and were confirmed in their desire to locate a franchise a facility in Nashua.  Their plans also matched with the expansion plans for Sub Zero and they were able to obtain rights to develop additional franchises in the six New England states.  There was still more planning to be done.  They worked to refine the deal and by December of 2013 they had signed on with Sub Zero. 

As they located a facility in Nashua near Nashua Community College they then had to pull the financing together, which is often a challenge for any “new” business and even more so when it is a new concept.  Rita and Mark connected with Radius Bank in Boston who used the SBA Patriot Express program to provide funding for their first facility and their Area Developer rights.   By May of 2014 they were able to start working on preparing the facility; they unfortunately missed much of the summer, but officially opened in August of 2014. 

Rita and Mark forged on and Rita gave up her position at BAE Systems to dedicate her full effort to the business while Mark continues to work at BAE Systems.  By the summer of 2016 they have seen the concept catching on and have expanded their footprint to include a traveling unit that provides an ice cream and scientific marvel for weddings, corporate events, fairs, festivals and classrooms throughout the state and the region.  They worked with Ed Izzo of SCORE and both Hollis McGuire and Warren Daniel of the NHSBDC recently for guidance regarding how to continue to expand the concept throughout New England and become more successful.  We look forward to their continued growth and a little taste of ice cream magic.

Company Name: 
Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt
Location: 
Nashua