After more than a year's absence, Graeter's will reopen an ice cream shop in Lexington on Friday.
The shop in Chevy Chase Plaza at Euclid Avenue and High Street is the first of what's expected to be at least a few more in the city.
"I am thrilled that Graeter's is back in Lexington," said Richard Graeter, chief executive of the family-owned regional chain based in Cincinnati.
The company's eight stores in Lexington and Northern Kentucky closed in December 2010 because of problems with the previous franchisee. The company had hoped that at least two of the Lexington stores would reopen in early 2011 under new management, but Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt snapped up the locations.
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The new spot is on the first level of the building best known as the home of Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56). Free parking is available in the adjoining parking garage.
For the new store, Graeter turned to franchisee Jim Tedesco, who operates several Graeter's stores in Louisville and southern Indiana.
At 2,044 square feet, the new Graeter's is somewhat larger than the former Lexington stores, which typically were 1,400 to 1,500 square feet, Tedesco said.
He offered a tour of the store Monday, showcasing that the space is superior to the company's former offerings in town.
The store features plenty of bright colors and a number of novelty items, candies and cakes for sale in addition to the standard ice cream and line of smoothies. Tedesco said the variety is far greater than that of the previous stores. Among the additional ice cream types is a bourbon ball flavor that had not previously been offered locally.
The store also will have bonus flavors on occasion that are versions they test for future use, Tedesco said.
"We're excited to be back, and you've got to come and see it for yourself," he said.
Graeter said the store's appearance is such a difference that customers will walk in and "just say wow."
"The old ones in Lexington really were old," he said. "Since they had opened, we had completely redesigned our store interiors.
"The old stores were run down and not kept up to our standards, and this gave us a perfect opportunity to do it right."
The return of Graeter's is part of a series of changes at Chevy Chase Plaza, which also saw the city's first McAlister's Deli open Monday. The plaza's ownership has put the complex up for sale after achieving its goal of bringing retailers to the building's first floor.