In 2006, Wade Oney, Jr. and Greg Sausaman co-founded Ice Cream 4 You International, d/b/a Topper’s Creamery®, dedicated to operating retail locations for what they justifiably call the “Best Soft Serve Ice Cream on the Planet®.”
The Topper’s Creamery® Story
One of Florida’s Sweetest Companies
The Topper’s Creamery® Brand
The core product is an old-fashioned frozen custard style soft serve ice cream. This proprietary recipe took nearly a full year and over 100 different recipes that were tested to perfect what they have today- a truly unique and delicious French vanilla bean custard ice cream. This is the cornerstone for what creates a refreshing treat that can be enjoyed in fresh waffle cones, shakes, sundaes and other treats.
Topper’s is distinguished by a versatile variety of retail options, including full menu standalone locations, express locations adaptable to almost any destination or venue, and co-brand locations that share space with other food service, often in colleges and resort hotels. The latest traditional shop opened in Riverview in May, with another soon to open near Full Sail University in East Orlando. Non-traditional units recently opened at University of Central Florida and Westfield Brandon Town Center Mall; and, opening soon at Dolphin Tale Adventures – part of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Dolphin Tales and Dolphin Tales 2 were filmed.
About the Founders
Oney and Sausaman both got early starts in food service with Domino’s Pizza. Wade made a name for himself when he moved from a senior executive position at Domino’s Pizza to Papa John’s Pizza where, as COO, he took that company from $100 million in annual sales to over $1 billion.
Greg went on to consult with Allied Domecq brands, where he became an expert in co-branding with Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, before becoming Director of Operations for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.
Both Wade and Greg are experienced franchise owners: Wade with 50 Papa John’s and eight Qdobas; and Greg formerly an eight unit Domino’s Pizza owner. Together, they founded Topper’s Creamery®, a brand created “for operators by operators.”
Wade and Greg can be characterized as entrepreneurs. They are mavericks – bold thinkers and risk takers that are driven to succeed with a primary goal of creating a company that will “provide security for people that have helped build our Team Oney organization into what it is today.” Team Oney consists of over 2,000 team members working in the Papa John’s, Qdoba, and Topper’s Creamery brands throughout several markets in Florida. This is their “why.”
Greg’s favorite quote is from Henry Ford, “If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.” Wade and Greg have spent their careers developing fast growing brands. Both Wade and Greg assert, “It’s all about the people and the relationships. Build a great culture with a great team, and let your team build your brand.”
Wade and Greg have a passion for what they do and are committed to the greater good of the Team Oney family. They don’t back down when they get knocked down – and they have been knocked down many times. They get back up, push harder, and overcome the obstacles to accomplish their goal of creating a legacy company.
About the Company
Much like the 100+ recipes they tried for their famous vanilla recipe, they have pilot tested multiple retail options to get to the best strategic brand placement. They have done small and large college campuses, an arena and a stadium, co-branding with other brands, end-cap units without drive thru windows, free-standing units with drive thru windows, a mall shopping center kiosk, a large office complex; full, semi, and self-serve. They have done traditional and non-traditional units; some operated by them, others by third party operators. They have run a spectrum of strategic retail options to find the magic formula for the success of the brand. Some have worked, some have been marginal, and some have not worked. This persistence to get it right defines the fabric of who Topper’s Creamery is as a brand: focus on the long term ideal of creating a solid culture; execute the operation at the highest level; and modify the strategy to charge forward with what best serves our brand objectives. This “pilot testing” was done with internal funds only. Wade, Greg and the team are working to perfect a highly attractive model for Topper’s Creamery that benefits every operator of the Topper’s Creamery brand. And they have!! Remember, Edison tried over 10,000 different bulbs before succeeding; and Chick-Fil-A started as a shopping mall only concept.
The company’s strategic development plan is rock solid. It is the growth of the Topper’s Creamery Express brand in non-traditional venues.
The proprietary ice cream recipe and Topper’s Express turn-key operation is the simplest way to add ice cream to any venue. Topper’s does everything for you. With the installation of a Topper’s Creamery Express, you just turn on the machine and sell ice cream. No buying equipment, no sourcing products, no equipment repair, and one stop shopping for all ice cream mix, paper, and supplies for your Topper’s Express. The up-front cost is $5,000 for the operator. And to back it up, there is a 100% return on investment guarantee in year one. This makes the risk for the operator to add a Topper’s Express zero.
Here are the results for every Topper’s Creamery® Express:
The operator has made greater profits than Topper’s parent company –
not just once, but EVERY SINGLE TIME!
But, since these operations are still new and growing, and in keeping with their plan of proving the business model before expanding it, Wade and Greg are charging forward in their pioneering spirit to demonstrate the success of the non-traditional units on a wider scale. They have recently established an internal team to open 33 non-traditional units in Tampa Bay by the end of 2018, using company funds.
Our mission statement: