Rita's Franchise Owner Reacts to Critics
John Thain speaks.
Since the dispute between the Trolley Car Diner and Rita’s Water Ice has become public, Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy residents have weighed in both for and against a Rita’s leasing a vacant spot in Chestnut Hill Plaza.
While John Thain, franchise owner of three Rita’s Water Ices, and Ken Weinstein, owner of The Trolley Car Diner, are still working on settling the dispute through arbitration, Thain weighed in on the comments against the water ice chain coming to the Hill.
“People are saying we’re not local. Rita’s is based 14 miles from Chestnut Hill in Bensalem. We have donated over $3 million since 2007 to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, through efforts of individual franchisees like myself,” Thain said.
Not only is the corporate infrastructure local, Thain adds, but the food is locally grown and made fresh on site each day.
“It is unfair to categorize us as a chain—we’re a Delaware Valley based organization," Thain said.
In response to the objections against having a seasonal business occupy the space at the bottom of the Hill, Thain said that Rita’s is only closed less than three months of the year.
“We close late in November and we open in February, and we are always updating our menu and we may eventually stay open year-round,” Thain said.
Thain is a Chestnut Hill resident. He owns two Rita's franchises in Roxborough and one in Wyncote.