Antonio McBroom is leading by example in hopes of encouraging people who can see him in action as he breaks barriers. The business owner started his career with the beloved ice cream company as a regular employee during his freshmen year of college due to his love for ice cream, according to a post on the University of North Carolina‘s community relations page.
A couple of days prior to his graduation, he purchased his first Ben & Jerry’s location in Chapel Hill, which was the “ideal” destination for his franchise. The entrepreneur now owns 15 locations across Atlanta, Houston, North Carolina, Washington D.C. and Tampa. This makes him the first “CEO of the only Black-owned and Black-led multi-unit franchise group of Ben & Jerry’s,” according to Spectrum News 1.
“I’m an ice cream connoisseur,” he to the news outlet. “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.”
In addition to his ice cream venture, the businessman owns a Starbucks franchise in a southeast location. His career as an entrepreneur was something McBroom set out to accomplish, and he appreciates the opportunity working at the Vermont-founded company gave him as he pursued his aspirations.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and being involved in a franchise like Ben & Jerry’s really gave me a platform to grow that entrepreneurship,” he shared.
As a UNC graduate, McBroom takes pride in investing in other small business owners since he’s one. He leads a team of dedicated individuals who assist him in donating a percentage of all 15 Ben & Jerry’s locations’ profits to other upcoming and small Black-owned businesses.
“Small businesses have a heartbeat for the community, and we’re plugged in a way that a lot of large corporations can’t,” the philanthropist said. “I’ve always been an advocate for small businesses and really enjoy being a small business owner.”
“One of the responsibilities of being a Black entrepreneur is just showing others what’s possible. 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,” he added.