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Rita's Italian Ice Plans 30 Mass. Shops by 2023

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600 shops and counting.

A location of Rita's Italian Ice
A location of Rita's Italian Ice

Get ready to see stores touting "ice, custard, [and] happiness" around the Boston area in the coming years. A local entrepreneur just signed on to open 30 new Rita's Italian Ice franchises in the Boston metro area into a handful of surrounding counties over the next eight years, Boston Business Journal reports.

Roxbury native Patricia Shelton is the new area developer for the Pennsylvania-based brand, which currently has no footprint in Massachusetts, despite having more than 600 shops around the country. Shelton is new to franchise development; previously, she worked for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts, AT&T, and started her own health care administration firm.

Shelton is just beginning to scout out the first Rita's location to open spring 2016, considering such locales as Roxbury, Hingham, Bedford, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Allston, and Brighton, according to the BBJ. She also plans to bring mobile Rita’s units to downtown Boston.

Rita's serves a variety of Italian ices, including some sugar-free offerings, in flavors like blue raspberry, Florida orange, island fusion, and chocolate peanut butter. It also has "cream ice," an icier version of ice cream; gelati; frozen custard; and a drinkable, custard-ice combination the company calls Misto. There are also sundaes, frozen custard cakes and cookie sandwiches, and its Blizzard competitor, the Blendini.