Rita’s Italian Ice Owner Triumphs Over Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

September 21, 2016 // Franchising.com // LANCASTER, Pa. – This October, Debbie Pierce, a Rita’s multi-unit business owner, will celebrate two years of living cancer-free. It’s a fitting anniversary, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Pierce’s journey as Rita’s business owner began in 2013. She previously had spent years building a career in corporate America, but was ready for a change. Pierce knew she wanted to be a small business owner and, after learning more about Rita’s franchising, decided to take the leap.

It’s undeniable that Pierce made the right choice; within a year, she was the proud owner of three Rita’s stores as well as a mobile Rita’s truck. She was happy with her business growth and everything was going smoothly until one Sunday night when she noticed a lump in her breast. Sure enough, just fourteen months after opening her first Rita’s location, Pierce was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

Despite 70 percent of Rita’s locations on the east coast closing in the colder months, Pierce had originally hoped to keep her Rita’s locations open all year-round. Luckily, Rita’s is a seasonal business so Pierce did have the option to close her doors and focus on her health.

In the fall of 2014, Pierce underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. Despite the heavy toll the treatment took on her body, Pierce was determined to continue to grow her business. She spent countless hours in the hospital receiving chemotherapy, but chose to use her time wisely. With the help of her husband, Kevin, Pierce was able to establish a second Rita’s mobile truck, doing most of the work from the hospital.

In the spring of 2015, Pierce re-opened her locations as planned and rolled out the new mobile Rita’s truck. It was a taxing endeavor, as Rita’s is a very physical business, and Pierce was exhausted from her treatments and reconstructive surgery. With the help of her husband and her faith, Pierce was able to fight through the hardships and continue on her path to success.

“Having cancer taught me to not be afraid,” says Pierce. “I’m stronger than I think I am and have an amazing support system. I won’t let cancer define who I am. Instead, I’m going to continue to move forward with my life and with Rita’s. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next.”

Rita’s locations serve up delicious frozen treats in a family -friendly environment. With Rita’s, quality is key; Rita’s Ices are made fresh on-site daily. For more information about Rita’s franchising visit OwnARitas.com.

About Rita's Italian Ice

The popular chain offers many delicious frozen treats that combine their famous Italian Ice and award-winning Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard, including layered Gelati, blended Misto® Shake and a personalized Blendini® which mixes Italian Ice, Frozen Custard and a delicious topping. Other menu items include Milkshakes, Frozen Drinks, Sundaes, Frozen Custard Cakes and Custard Cookie Sandwiches. Since 1984, Rita's has been dedicated to serving up a big dose of happiness with its freshly made, delicious treats in a fun-filled atmosphere, and over thirty years later, it is still spreading "Ice, Custard, Happiness!" For more information about Rita's Italian Ice visit ritasice.com

About Rita’s Franchise Company

Ranked #1 in Nation’s Restaurant News “Consumer Pick’s 2014” for Service and Value in the Frozen Treat category and 14th overall in the Limited-Service category, Rita’s Franchise Company is the largest Italian Ice concept in the world with more than 600 stores in the U.S. The company is aggressively expanding internationally with operating locations in Canada, Philippines, the Caribbean and Middle East.  Rita’s, headquartered in Trevose, Pa., was also named one of the Top 25 Franchise High Performers by the Wall Street Journal’s “Startup Journal” and ranks #81 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “2014 Franchise 500” list. For more information about Rita’s franchise opportunities, please call 1-800- 677-7482 or visit: www.ownaritas.com

SOURCE Rita’s Franchise Company

Media Contact:

Scott Curkin


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Rita’s Italian Ice »

The popular chain offers a variety of "cool treats," including: its famous Italian Ice, made fresh daily with real fruit and available in more than sixty-five flavors.


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