Antonio McBroom went from working as an employee at a Ben & Jerry’s in college to being the CEO of the only Black-owned and Black-led multi-unit franchise group of the company.
Entrepreneur.com noted that his journey in the ice cream business began during his childhood when he sold ice pops to customers at his grandmother’s home-operated bar and restaurant.
“I’m an ice cream connoisseur. That’s what drew me to the job in the first place. I started as a scooper back when I was in college at UNC, and I had a milkshake as my first menu item, and that was one of the perks of working on the job. So, I’ve been sticking with it ever since,” McBroom told Spectrum News1.
After graduating from college in 2008, he seized an opportunity to purchase the Ben & Jerry’s franchise where he had been working. He partnered with his friend Eric Taylor and their marketing intern, Phillip Scotton, to form the limited liability company Primo Partners.
Today, McBroom and his team at Primo Partners now own 15 Ben & Jerry’s locations and a Starbucks café in the southeast region. In addition to his business achievements, McBroom is dedicated to supporting aspiring Black entrepreneurs.
He and his partners place a strong emphasis on hiring and mentoring future leaders of color. Also, they contribute a portion of their earnings to nonprofits that focus on promoting racial equity, education, and voting access in the communities they serve.
“The responsibility of being a Black entrepreneur is just showing others what’s possible,” McBroom said. “I know that a lot of folks growing up don’t see cases of Black excellence, and so for me to be a model, an example for folks in my community of just what’s possible.”
A part of the company’s annual profits is also donated to help Black-owned businesses as a sign of their dedication to expanding entrepreneurial opportunities for underserved communities.
McBroom’s accomplishments have led him to receive the 2018 Black Enterprise Franchisee of the Year, the 2021 UNC Black Alumni’s Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award, and also the 2021 Ben & Jerry’s “BIG O” Operator of the Year Award.