Baskin-Robbins opens new shop in Dorado, Puerto Rico

Chain’s expansion entailed a $1.1 million investment, creates 26 jobs

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rican company Island Creamery Inc. (ICI), which operates all Baskin-Robbins shops on the island, opened a new location at the Doramar Shopping Center in Dorado.

Island Creamery invested $1.1 million and created 26 new direct jobs with the expansion. The Dorado shop is its first since acquiring more than 20 Baskin-Robbins shops in Puerto Rico, becoming the brand’s sole franchisee on the island in 2016. Under the agreement, the company remodeled the existing locations.

The Dorado shop has the newest equipment and a new exterior and interior design, featuring the latest theme presented first in September at the Baskin-Robbins world convention in Las Vegas.

Other elements have been added with a local vision, auguring what the new generation of Baskin-Robbins stores will be like on the island. The new store features drive-through service and will have an expanded topping station.

Named a top ice cream and frozen dessert franchise by Entrepreneur magazine, Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops. It has more than 8,000 shops in 54 countries around the world, including more than 2,500 locations in the U.S.

Baskin-Robbins has been on the island since 1976, and features many ice cream flavors—including local ones—along with custom ice cream cakes and sundaes, as well as frozen beverages and treats.

Island Creamery is owned and operated by Puerto Rico-based The Larrea Group, which has managed several restaurant chains on the island for nearly 40 years.

“The Doramar shopping center was selected because it is a place with high traffic and easy access from exit 24 off the De Diego Expressway (PR-22). We are continuously looking at additional places to continue the development of Baskin-Robbins on the Island,” Juan Antonio Larrea, president of ICI, local press reported.

Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by two ice cream enthusiasts “whose passion led to the creation of more than 1,300 ice cream flavors and a wide variety of delicious treats,” according to the Massachusetts-based company, which is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc.

New Stores Open in Plaza Las Américas

SAN JUAN – Execs at Plaza Las Américas, a shopping center in San Juan’s Hato Rey district, announced Monday the upcoming opening of several new stores at the mall, which is one of the biggest in the Caribbean.

Among the new locales is Zapaventura, a shoe store led by the former general manager of the now-defunct Chiquitín, which specialized in children’s shoes. Fittingly enough, Zapaventura, which is scheduled to open in the next few weeks, will also occupy the same locale as the old Chiquitín store and offer many of the same product lines.

Second in line is BienLatino, a restaurant offering sandwiches, soups and salads, which will occupy a 2,100-square-foot space across from Applebee’s, in the first level of the mall’s southern hallway, starting in August.

Starbucks’ second locale at Plaza, meanwhile, will occupy some 1,500 square feet across from the shopping center’s northern fountain, alongside the new Banco Santander locale. It is slated to open in September.

Finally, the Olive Garden restaurant will be on the third level of the central atrium, occupying about 7,700 square feet across the hall from the Tierra del Fuego restaurant. Construction on the new Olive Garden is expected to start in the summer with the opening scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.

Franklin Domenech, general manager of Plaza Las Américas, said that most of the remodeling projects in the mall’s interior have been completed, among them the restoration of the northern fountain’s skylight and northern panoramic elevator, the facade of the food court (also known as La Terraza) and the connecting passageway between La Terraza and the central atrium’s third level, where Walgreens is located.

“We are now remodeling the elevators at the Torre de PLAZA (a multi-story office building within the mall) and will shortly begin remodeling the area in front of Santander and Red Lobster,” Domenech added, referring to the first Red Lobster restaurant on the island, which is scheduled to open at the old Santander locale, just across the hall from the new Santander location.

An artist's rendering of the upcoming relocation of the Santander bank branch and new Red Lobster restaurant location in Plaza Las Américas.

A rendering of the upcoming relocation of the Santander bank branch and new Red Lobster restaurant location in Plaza Las Américas.

The 8,000-square-foot restaurant, which will carry a $2 million investment and generate about 125 jobs, is expected to start construction sometime in the third quarter and begin operations by next April.

Rafael Ruiz-Comas, corporate leasing director for Plaza, added that two new stores, Tiffany and A’Gaci, have already opened in the mall this year. “We expect a higher level of activity regarding new [retail offerings] during the second half of this year, starting with these four new stores that we’ve announced today and that come from Puerto Rican entrepreneurs and investors.”

Ruiz-Comas also singled out the transformation the shopping center’s northern hallway will undergo in the next few months.

Apart from the relocated Santander and the upcoming Red Lobster and Starbucks, a nearby surfing apparel shop, Playero, will expand its space to take up a total of 2,500 square feet, along the way occupying the former locale of jewelry store Lugano. The aforementioned jewelry store, meanwhile, moved to the second level of the central atrium, in front of the Bose audio store.

Another nearby store, Pearle Vision, will also expand its footprint to occupy the whole retail space between Playero and the Sears anchor store, or about 3,000 square feet. Throughout the expansion process, Playero and Pearle will continue operations in temporary locales across the hall, with construction slated for completion sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

Other changes in the pipeline for Plaza include the relocation of the Galería shoe store, which will move from its current spot next to Sears to the hallway between JCPenney and Macy’s, across from Guess, as well as the remodeling and expansion of Sizzler’s in La Terraza.