Halo Top Creamery Closes Up Shops

Halo Top Creamery Closes Up Shops
Sweet Deal: Halo Top Creamery was purchased by Wells Enterprises in September.

Halo Top Creamery, the low-calorie ice cream maker that was named America’s best-selling pint just two years ago, closed its three Scoop Shop retail locations a year after their debut.

The Instagram-worthy stores in Century City, Fairfax and Canoga Park were supposed to connect consumers with the brand.

But the experiment to replicate the company’s grocery shelf success in a brick-and-mortar environment was ended by Halo Top’s new owners, Wells Enterprises Inc.

“After a review of the overall Halo Top brand and business, Wells Enterprises determined that we were no longer interested in keeping the Halo Top Scoop Shop stores open,” said Lesley Bartholomew, a spokeswoman for Wells Enterprises.

Iowa-based Wells Enterprises — the largest privately held and family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the United States — in September announced plans to acquire Halo Top’s parent company, Eden Creamery.

Terms of the deal, which closed Sept. 27, were not released.

Under the agreement, Wells agreed to license the Halo Top brand outside of the U.S. and Canada to a new company, Halo Top International, led by former Halo Top President Doug Bouton.

Wells, the owner of Blue Bunny ice cream, also shuttered much of Halo Top’s administrative division in El Segundo. According to documents from the state’s Economic Development Department, 88 Halo Top workers were laid off.

Bartholomew said employees were given severance, and some were offered new positions at the company, although she did not specify how many. Several of the employees work remotely in California.

Bouton’s company will be based in Chicago although he expects to retain a presence in Los Angeles. Halo Top International will focus on the markets in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.

Halo Top changed the game for ice cream, but its success brought a slew of newcomers, said Kara Nielsen, an Oakland-based food trend analyst.

Halo Top’s growth slowed last year after becoming the nation’s top-selling pint as more competitors flooded the market.

The so-called guilt-free ice cream was created by corporate lawyer Justin Woolverton. He wanted to feel less guilty after eating a pint of ice cream and created the recipe at his home with an ice cream maker. He launched the brand in 2012 and later brought on Bouton.

Just last year, Bouton told the website Eater that he would love to expand the Scoop Shop empire. “If I could open up a thousand of these locations, I would,” he said last year as the company was about to launch a location in New York, “but we have limited time and resources.”

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