Wonders Ice Cream, a Minnesota-based rolled ice cream shop franchise, will open its first store in the Boquerón area of Cabo Rojo next year, in the hands of an entrepreneur who envisions it becoming a hang-out spot for tourists and locals alike.
Jay Martínez bought the rights to the franchise from friend Kit Houngnakhone — the chain’s co-owner — to establish a store in Puerto Rico to join 14 other locations that are operating or under construction in Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Wonders Ice Cream’s flagship location is in the Mall of America shopping center.
The self-proclaimed “Hibachi of Ice Cream” chain was founded in 2017, offering handmade rolled ice cream desserts in a variety of flavors and combinations that Martínez said will be featured in the local store that is slated to open early next year. The Puerto Rico location will be the first outside the U.S. mainland.
The shop will occupy a 1,400 square-foot space in Cabo Rojo, which will have enough seating inside and outside to accommodate about 40 people, including some standing. The Boquerón Wonders Ice Cream store will feature televisions and other entertainment elements to draw in patrons who will likely not find anything similar in the area, he said.
Martínez said he has done his homework, scoping out the market and his competition, saying the nearest ice cream shops are in Lajas and nearby in the Combate sector of Cabo Rojo.
Martínez foresees investing between $35,000 and $40,000 to set up the business. He said he is still negotiating royalty fees and other financial terms of the franchise licensing that he said could eventually lead to opening more locations in Puerto Rico.
Aside from featuring what’s on the Wonders Ice Cream menu, Martínez said he will look to incorporate local flavors into the ice cream options as well as locally sourced ingredients for the topics and mixes used for the creative desserts.
“We’ve talked about working with other local businesses. We want to make this fun and what I mean by that is if you go through Wonders website, you’ll see they use donuts, so, we want to work with other local businesses for the add-ons,” he said. “We want to incorporate stuff created by other businesses into our menu.”
Once open, the Wonders Ice Cream shop in Boquerón will generate about 10 new jobs.
At 35, Martínez is a multi-faceted entrepreneur responsible for producing some of the most anticipated automotive/lifestyle events in the U.S. mainland. This summer, he kicked off the 10-city “Tuner Evolution” tour in San Juan, which drew more than 6,000 car enthusiasts to the Puerto Rico Convention Center.