Huntsville residents Brian and Carolyn Vaughn are the new owners of the Handel’s Ice Cream franchise in the Rocket City.
Brian Vaughn is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served the country as a lieutenant colonel.
Handel’s said the Huntsville store, located at 7086 Hwy 72 W., will open the week of Feb. 8. (Check back with WAAY 31 for updates, as we’re told the exact date may be Thursday, Feb. 11).
The Huntsville store has been closed since June 2020.
According to the company, Brian Vaughn “got his first taste of owning a business when he set up a bicycle repair shop as a teen, working hard to earn $5 a week. He remembers family outings to get ice cream from his childhood, often on Sundays after church, and especially if he had good behavior.”
Brian Vaughn said his favorite Handel’s flavor is Salty Caramel Truffle. Carolyn Vaughn is a fan of Praline Pecan.
Brian Vaugh credits the Army for preparing him for this venture.
“The discipline and attention to detail from my Army training will help us consistently serve this great-tasting, top-quality ice cream to our neighbors and new friends,” Brian Vaughn said. Vaughn’s favorite flavor of Handel’s Ice Cream is Salty Caramel Truffle, while his wife and business partner Carolyn prefers Praline Pecan.
The Huntsville store has been closed for about eight months since the company revealed it suspended operations there due to “offensive statements and posts from one of our franchisees.”
The company was referring to posts on Facebook said to be made by the Huntsville franchise’s now-former owner, ranging from several years ago to summer 2020.
After those posts, which contained use of the "n" word as well as posts about the killing of George Floyd, went viral, the Facebook page they were found on was deleted.
The company said then that it does not "tolerate expressions of racism or discrimination in any form."
Handel’s new release about the Vaughns taking over ownership said the Huntsville location was desired by many.
“We were humbled to have over 100 people that wanted to be the new store owner in Huntsville, and we couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Brian and Carolyn Vaughn,” said Jim Brown, Handel’s Chief Operating Officer. “Brian resonated with the story of Handel’s founder, Alice Handel, and we see the same traits in the Vaughns: good-natured, hard-working Americans who want to make people happy with a product they love.”
A second Huntsville location is planned for later in 2021. Stay with WAAY 31 for updates on that location as soon as we get them.