Featured Tenant of Cox Property Management

This quarter’s featured Mitch Cox Companies tenant is Swirled, a frozen sweet treats store offering ice cream, italian ice, and frozen yogurt, which opened its third location in the Cherry Street Commons in downtown Johnson City on May 25, 2018.

Mitch Cox Realtor’s Shannon K. Castillo sold the property and Cox Property Management, led by Patrick Fleenor, manages the property.

The MCC team had the opportunity to sit down with Swirled owner Ed Fuqua and learn more about his story and why he opened Swirled.

After working as a chemical technologist at Eastman Chemical Company for the first thirteen years of his career, Ed Fuqua decided he wanted to do something different. In 2005, Fuqua bought a Charley’s Philly Steaks restaurant franchise in his in Bristol, Virginia. Observing that the concept performed successfully, he bought a second location in his hometown in Abingdon, Virginia, and then a third in Marion. Soon his fourth store will open in the Kingsport mall in October.

The concept for Swirled came from a risky situation when the space adjacent to his Abingdon Charley’s became available. “I was concerned with who my neighbor would be,” said Fuqua. “So I bought the place and opened an ice cream store.”

Swirled is a family business. Fuqua’s sister-in-law and wife have a creative flair and they used their talents to develop the colors and logos, which snowballed into an experience akin to Sweet Frog.

After Abingdon, Fuqua launched a second Swirled in Bristol, but this time as a standalone shop, serving hand-dipped cones, sundaes, banana splits, and milkshakes.

“Compared to Charley’s, ice cream is very seasonal,” said Fuqua. “You make every bit of your revenue from April to September and lose money in winter. This paired well with Charley’s, which is very consistent year round.”

The genesis of Johnson City store sprung from a random conversation with Fuqua’s food supplier, who also delivered to The Label in downtown Johnson City. “If you don’t open an ice cream center here, you’re nuts,” the food supplier said. “I was focused on the Bristol opening, but sat in the parking lot and watched traffic. It was busy. So I gave Shannon at Mitch Cox a call.”

Months later, Swirled opened on a Friday afternoon in late May and has been busy ever since.

“The community has been very supportive and has totally embraced Swirled,” the owner said. “We’ve received only positive reviews. People really enjoy Ashby’s hand dipped ice cream, custard, gelato, sorbets and when it’s warm out, italian ice.”

Swirled is open from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Visit the Swirled Facebook page for more information.

Fun fact: Fuqua’s favorite frozen treat is Ashby’s Anniversary Cake.