Trudy Grabenauer Knows What Hard Work Is
Cold Stone Creamery™ franchise owner Trudy Grabenauer has been named a 2022 winner at the North Bay Business Journal’s Influential Women Awards. She shared her story, including how she discovered Cold Stone Creamery and how she’s developed her business, with the publication.
“I started as a registered dietitian with the Army Medical Specialist Corp, leaving the service as a captain,” Grabenauer says. “When we relocated to California and I was a new mom, I worked from home as a medical transcriptionist and Lamaze Childbirth instructor.”
“We moved to Sonoma County, and I reentered the workforce as the director of dietetic services at Sonoma County’s Community Hospital, a position I held for eight years,” she continues. “I left county employment to start a microfilm/record storage business. After 10 years, I sold the business, traveled, and ended up starting a Cold Stone Creamery empire. I opened the first two franchises in Montgomery Village and Petaluma. I then added locations in Windsor, Rohnert Park, Cotati and another location in Santa Rosa.
Cold Stone Creamery can give you the perfect work-life balance
At the same time, she was also pursuing another interesting business — ostrich ranching.
“When we moved to a rural residential area, I talked my husband into getting a young ostrich chick to raise. Ostriches are social birds, so it was only a matter of time before we got her a companion. There were thoughts at the time that the ostrich meat industry would be a good investment and there would be a demand for unrelated pairs of ostrich chicks,” she says. “One thing led to another, and we became proud owners of two unrelated breeding pairs of ostriches. In a couple of years, eggs were laid, an incubator and hatcher moved into the garage, the barn became the nursery, the tool shed became the young chick habitat, the garden was for the teenagers, and the entire front yard was the adolescent hangout.”
That sideline eventually was pared back, but provided a great experience. It also proved that she and her family could operate a very unique business. Now, as she begins to wind down her Cold Stone Creamery holdings, she’s finding that looking back on those stores’ operations is just as satisfying. She adds as a tip to would-be entrepreneurs: never be afraid to ask for advice.
“I have started to downsize, looking forward to retirement, and currently only own the Santa Rosa location,” she explains. “My career has been extremely varied. Occasionally I would find myself lacking any knowledge or experience to handle certain situations or problems. I learned quickly not to be afraid to ask for help, advice, and encouragement. I owe a great deal of gratitude to countless individuals who have stepped in to help me.”
Love your job and life with a Cold Stone Creamery franchise
Cold Stone Creamery franchise now has across the United States and a presence in multiple international markets. We still have optimal territory available for new franchise expansion and development. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona,
Cold Stone Creamery is owned by parent company Kahala Brands™, one of the world’s fastest-growing franchising companies with a portfolio of 28 quick-service restaurant concepts. If you want to bring a popular ice cream brand to your community, Cold Stone Creamery may be for you. To learn more, explore our research pages here or fill out our form here to start a conversation with our franchise team. One of our dedicated team members will be in touch with a copy of our Franchise Information Report.
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